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DISCUSSION FORUMS : Forkliftaction.communicate
Forum: Safety, training & legislation
Discussion:  Pedestrian safety around lift trucks
Number of messages: 31
Page: [1] 2
Ohio, United States
Recently we have had a flood of accidents involving people not looking for lift trucks before they enter an aisle and getting hit.  (Prior to this, we have not had an accident like this in 10 years plus.)  

Background information:  Our lift trucks are electric (very quiet) and in some areas it is very noisy due to our metal stamping operation.

We are now looking at devices like strobes, beepers, backup alarms, etc. to alert employees  The remark is that employees will get immune to these devices or they will drive the material handlers "crazy" listening to the beepers all day.  

What do you suggest?

Doug B

Posted 24 Aug 2004 10:45 PM Reply  Report this message
REPLIES: Sort replies by
Surrey, United Kingdom
Hi doug,  A very tricky situation. One thing would be to educate the pedestrians on the risks involved in working around a lift truck. It seems strange to go so long with an incident then to have alot.. Are they new employees or has the work environment changed?? Do the employees wear High viz vests..

Posted 25 Aug 2004 02:40 AM Reply  Report this message
Ohio, United States
Is it is strange because things really haven't change nor are they new employees.  In addition, our employees wear tan shirts, which probably doesn't help the visibility from the operators standpoint.

Doug B

Posted 25 Aug 2004 11:16 PM Reply  Report this message
Ohio, United States

You might want to check out a line of products we carry from Alert Safety Products.  A link is on our web site at triple w dot
These systems are easy to use, inexpensive and very flexible.  Let me know if you have an interest.  My number is 740-763-4978.  

Modified 27 Aug 2004 06:57 AM
by poster.
Reply  Report this message
Daze wrote....I'd try installing fixed mirrors that allow pedestrians to see around the corner before they walk into an isle, where an accident could occur.

Posted 9 Sep 2004 02:34 AM Reply  Report this message
Ohio, United States
The mirrors are a good idea and work if people actually look in them, they are adjusted properly, big enough and clean enough.  The Alert system we use turns the passive mirror into an active alarm (no sound)  Through the use of LED's behind it the pedestrian can be told if a lift is coming and from what direction

Posted 9 Sep 2004 03:37 AM Reply  Report this message
wellington, New Zealand
doug - i think you hit the nail on the head when you stated people have stopped looking out for f/lifts -  I agree that yes the opertaor MUST sound the horn- however as you stated in your own work place - not all sounds can be heard!
Perhaps the staff  may need to be reminded before its not too late as to the danger's of Flifts and remind them that they too need to look out for their own safety also - after all the operator can only do so much! (Sound horn/ slow down)
A team effort is needed on both operator and pedestrian - Mirrors etc  are fine - as long as pedestrians remember to use / look at them!

Posted 10 Sep 2004 06:27 PM Reply  Report this message
Nova Scotia, Canada
Hi Doug

The Department of Labour in their Occupational Safety General Regulations, for the province of Nova Scotia, Canada requires lift trucks to have "an audible back up alarm or equivilant safety device" inatalled. You may want to consult your local regulations. When teaching driver training classes I stress to all students the importance of watcing for pedestrians and encourage managers and employers to do safety audits and stress pedestrian safety courses.
It is worth the cost of having a competent professional consultant spend time at your facility in conjunction with your health and safety committee assesing oportunities for improved lift truck safety.

Posted 12 Sep 2004 11:47 AM Reply  Report this message
New Brunswick, Canada
Your original question opens a very large door.
First, pedestrian employees in order to be "competent" must be made aware of the dangers to their health & safety connected with the assigned work.  This should be part of their orientation package - their do's and don't's working around lift trucks.  This comprises many different topics.  If you'd like to contact me off-line (, I'd be pleased to fax you a copy of my 2 page Pedestrian Safety Manual that I pass out when I do my courses.
Second, at all blind corners, doorways, inter-sections, any place there could be a collison between a lift truck and another object or person, there must be an overhead mirror.
Back up alarms are a requirement in some Provinces/State, but even so:  all lift trucks should have a flashing light that is mounted to the top of the driver's overhead guard and be flashing at all times - come on with the key.
Also, headlights and a back up light are mandatory when used after dark or in dimly lit areas, but my recommendation is 2 headlights that come on with the key, "daytime running lights" and the reverse light should come on when the unit is put in reverse - not by a separate swith.
Pedestrians can see the reflection of a light in an overhead mirror before they see the reflection of a lift truck.  Also, at blind corners, inter-sections and doorways, a light may be seen shining off walls/boxes/racks even before a lift truck can be seen.
Lift truck operators must be told that at all blind corners, doorways, inter-sections and when they make a turn that:  they must slow down to a yield speed, sound their horn and yield right-of-way.
Back up alarms must be audible over any background noise.  The loudest I've seen is 120Db.  In a noisy application, make sure you have the loudest back up alarm available and it's located for maximum sound (not under an engine or battery hood as example).
For forward travel, you can purchase a bell alarm that attaches to the wheel assembly.  Each revolution creates a bell - the faster the lift truck is going, the more "bells" that go off.
Pedestrian safety garments:  lift truck drivers that hit a pedestrian usually say, "I didn't see him or, I didn't see him in time."  Consider safety garments, i.e. vests or something else.  There is a relatively new standard in the U.S. and one in Canada as well with different classifications for different applications.
Pedestrian sidewalks painted on the floor keep pedestrians in a certain area and not all over.  Drivers stay off the "sidewalks" and.....some Companies paint 2 lines on the floor to designate a lift truck highway so, all said and done, you have a separate area for lift trucks and pedestrians to eliminate or reduce collisions.
Yield or Stop Lines painted on the floor can also remind lift trucks and pedestrians to yield at a blind area.
These are just a few of the ideas to respond to your inquiry.  Hope they may help.
Garry Prosser

Posted 4 Nov 2004 08:14 PM Reply  Report this message
Ohio, United States

Advanced technology may be your answer.  These new products can deliver warnings only when really needed. Check them out- ForkAlert.  A link is triple w dot   Hope this is helpful.  


Posted 5 Nov 2004 03:17 AM Reply  Report this message
England, United Kingdom
In view of the high ambient noise levels and general nuisance of permanently on bleepers, the preference should be for fixed wall mirrors, strobe lights and lane markings.
All are reliable and inexpensive.

"Clever" ideas fail when the equipment fails and production must go on!!

Posted 11 Feb 2005 02:56 AM Reply  Report this message
Pennsylvania, United States
Procedures, procedures, procedures!! You need clearly defined written procedures acounting for all interested parties.

Operator procedures, do's and don'ts, including horn use, visibility/obstructions, blind spots, verifying clear travel, travel speed, slowing down, stopping as required.

Pedestrian procedures, dedicated walkways, restricted areas, hazards of lift truck traffic. Train everybody on procedures. Enforce, enforce, enforce!!

Lights and alarms may be more than a nuisance. They may create another hazard if improperly applied. I detest "back-up" alarms on forklifts. Dump truck, ok, forklift, not! They beep in the wrong direction. If you add a travel alarm, have it beep in the "forks first" direction, which is the direction with obstructed view, and it will encourage travel in "forks following" direction, which provides the best view. Which direction was operator traveling when pedestrian was struck? Loaded or empty?

Establish dedicated pedestrian walkways, and restrict pedestrian traffic in areas where they have no business. When a forklift operator has to stop for a pedestrian, workflow and procuctivity is obstructed, affecting bottom line numbers. Don't want that, do you? Concave mirrors are very effective when all employees are trained, and required to use them. Remember, if you require it, you must enforce it, or it's not required.

Nothing is idiot-proof to a motivated idiot.

Posted 18 Feb 2005 00:33 AM Reply  Report this message
Ohio, United States

Interesting thinking!

To answer your question, the empty lift truck was going forward

Posted 19 Feb 2005 04:20 AM Reply  Report this message
Ohio, United States
Hey Doug, sorry to hear of your misfortunes in the workplace with the forklift accidents.  There is a product available that has been tested to decrease this exact problem.  To view all their products go to alertsafetyproductscom ....check out their action videos to actually see how the products works.  You can call 8007834290 for further assistance

Modified 19 Feb 2005 04:45 AM
by poster.
Reply  Report this message
Pennsylvania, United States

Forward I will assume means "forks leading" or "forks first". Sit-down Rider Truck or Stand-up Rider? How big is the truck (capacity)? Just wondering.


Posted 25 Feb 2005 09:21 AM Reply  Report this message
Ohio, United States

You assume correctly.  In adddition, it is a sit down truck and is quite large.


Posted 26 Feb 2005 04:11 AM Reply  Report this message
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