Safety for Pedestrians Around Forklifts
Pedestrians can protect themselves when they are working near forklifts by using their senses—and their common sense!
Where’s the Forklift?
Pedestrians must learn to listen and look for warning signs that indicate a forklift is nearby so they can take steps to avoid the forklift. They should:
- Listen for the sound of forklift horns. Forklift operators should sound the horn when approaching intersections, corners, blind spots, other forklifts, and areas with pedestrians.
- Listen for the sound of backup alarms. Most forklifts have a backup alarm that sounds whenever the forklift is moving in reverse.
- Listen for the sounds of the forklift engine. The engines of combustion forklifts will be louder when the forklift is traveling or when the forklift is raising a load. However, because electric forklifts are usually very quiet, listening for engine noise from them will not help.
- Look for flashing lights. Forklifts are required to have flashing, rotating lights that operate continuously.
Walking Safely near Forklifts
In order to maintain an awareness of where forklifts are, workers should:
- Avoid distractions when walking out where there is forklift traffic, including reading paperwork or talking with other pedestrians.
- Stop and look both ways before entering a forklift lane, crossing an aisle, walking up to a blind corner, or walking across an intersection where forklifts travel.
- Walk single file along the side of an aisle that has forklift traffic, or keep to designated walking aisles.
Approaching a Forklift Driver
If a pedestrian needs to approach a forklift driver to discuss something, he or she should:
- Stay back from the forklift until the driver sees him or her.
- Wait for the driver to stop the forklift.
- Approach the forklift after the driver motions him or her over.
When approaching the forklift, workers should be careful to:
- Keep their feet away from the forklift.
- Walk away before the driver moves the forklift, rather than standing next to the forklift and waiting for the driver to pull away.