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Safe Distances
The wearhouse where I work is constantly being re-organized with very little attention placed on safety. There are areas of the building where forklifts pass through both fixed objects and employees either walking or working with no more than a few inches on either side.

What I was wondering is, in general what would be considered a min. safe distance when passing through or near various obstacles.

For example,
-between 2 pilars or walls (how much distance should there be on each side to pass through safely)

-between a fixed obstacle such as a pilar or wall and an area with pedestrians or workers
  • Posted 10 Mar 2006 08:20 PM
Total replies: 8. Showing items 1 - 8 of 8 results.
Replies
To some extent, forklifts occasionally passing within inches of fixed obstacles is just the nature of the beast and is not inherently unsafe as long as the operator slows down appropriately and keeps all body parts inside the operator cage.
The more likely side effects of too many tight spaces is poor productivity and damage to product, equipment, and facilities. Since business generally place a higher priority on these than they do on safety, you’d be better off using these as an argument for more space or less stuff.
Your other comment about lift trucks and pedestrians in confined spaces at the same time is much more alarming. Though I'm not sure of specific standards, I'd be rather uncomfortable with a standard-sized lift truck and a pedestrian passing at the same time through any space that is not at least 12 feet wide (and the lift truck better be moving slow). And to be honest, I would look for ways of avoiding that as well. That's just my opinion.
  • Posted 14 Mar 2006 07:12 AM
The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, [url removed] 1990, Regulation 851, Industrial Establishments has the following sections that may be of use:

Premises, Section 17, sets the minimum width for a walkway: 17) "A fixed walkway, service stair or stile shall be at least fifty-five centimetres in width." This equates to approximately 22 inches.

Premises, Section 12, sets a standard of performance to be achieved.: 12) "Clearances between a moving part of any machine or any material carried by the moving part of the machine and any other machine, structure or thing shall be adequate to ensure that the safety of any worker in the area is not endangered."

Section 12 was probably intended for fixed machinery. Since machine is not defined in the regulation, it could be construed that a forklift is a machine and is covered by the above rule. This rule still gives the performance standard that you are trying to achieve. Establish adequate aisle clearance to avoid pedestrian or operator endangerment.

Definitions, Section 1, will be adding the definition of "adequate" effective 09/30/06: 1) "In this Regulation, Note: On September 30, 2006, section 1 is amended by adding the following definitions: “adequate”, when used in relation to a procedure, plan, material, device, object or thing, means that it is, (a) sufficient for both its intended and its actual use, and (b) sufficient to protect a worker from occupational illness or occupational injury; “Adequately” has a meaning that corresponds to the meaning of “adequate”."

A prudent person would not find the minimum walkway width plus the width of widest truck or widest load (whichever is greater) to be adequate for a one way traffic aisle or adequate if doubled for a two way traffic aisle. Such figures may yield clearance for movement or travel, they do not give adequate clearance for protection from the potential hazards.

Some of the potential hazards of pedestrian forklift combined traffic include: struck by/caught under/caught between falling load, struck by/caught under/caught between overturning forklift, struck by/caught between/caught under traveling forklift(s), struck by/caught between rearward swing.

After completing a detailed risk assessment, you may want to consider one way forklift traffic aisles and designated pedestrian only traffic aisles. Such items may be an initial inconvenience but the impact on your operation will be less than the impact of a serious injury or fatality. Some firms that have adopted this approach indicate an improvement in productivity and safety.
  • Posted 20 Mar 2006 12:34 PM
  • • Modified 20 Mar 2006 12:36 PM by poster
As has been stated, aisles must be a certain width (wider than the load or truck - whichever is wider) and considerations for two way traffic. This is to eliminate a load having to be elevated to get around anything and to avoid hitting anything when the load is low to the floor/ground.
All loads are to be secure to avoid anything falling off.
I see by your post, you're in Canada. A good example is to look at the Canada Labour Code and they also identify pedestrian walkways and how wide they should be as well.
In Ontario many years ago, DOT came up with a poster suggesting a 3M Circle of Safety. In the real world this is not always happen so lift trucks must stay as far away from pedestrians as possible. We just had another fatality down our way, a pedestrian being crushed by a lift truck. In fact, the last 3 fatalities down this way have been pedestrians crushed between a lift truck and another solid object. OSHA did a study a number of years ago on lift truck accidents and their statistic is suggesting 36% of the lift truck fatalities are a pedestrian being crushed by a lift truck.
  • Posted 23 Mar 2006 09:41 PM
As has been stated, aisles must be a certain width (wider than the load or truck - whichever is wider) and considerations for two way traffic. This is to eliminate a load having to be elevated to get around anything and to avoid hitting anything when the load is low to the floor/ground.
All loads are to be secure to avoid anything falling off.
I see by your post, you're in Canada. A good example is to look at the Canada Labour Code and they also identify pedestrian walkways and how wide they should be as well.
In Ontario many years ago, DOT came up with a poster suggesting a 3M Circle of Safety. In the real world this is not always happen so lift trucks must stay as far away from pedestrians as possible. We just had another fatality down our way, a pedestrian being crushed by a lift truck. In fact, the last 3 fatalities down this way have been pedestrians crushed between a lift truck and another solid object. OSHA did a study a number of years ago on lift truck accidents and their statistic is suggesting 36% of the lift truck fatalities are a pedestrian being crushed by a lift truck.
  • Posted 23 Mar 2006 09:41 PM
joey j - download the following:
HSL/2005/03 - measuring workplace transport safety performance

The material is published by [url removed] and contains information that is pertinent to your warehouse problem.
  • Posted 11 Apr 2006 10:54 AM
Thanks very much for the responses. I've also found a US OHSA guideline suggesting aisles be a min of 3ft wider than the widest truck required to pass through the aisle.

I raised the issue and the companys response was "it's not a highway, there are no regulations". However,we've recently had a visit from Labour Canada where they had some issues with the forklift safety, so I'm currently searching out as much infomation as I can find to propose a safer more comprehensive policy than the one that is presently being ignored.

Once again thank you very much your responses have been extremely helpful.
  • Posted 12 Apr 2006 05:44 PM
Hi Joey

In the Nova Scotia Occupational Safety General Regulations the minimum aisle width is spelled out as the widest part of the lift truck or load plus 600mm (24") in a one way aisle and 900mm (36") plus the width of two lift trucks or loads if wider than the truck for a two way aisle.
You may want to check in your provincial regulations, most can be accessed on line. For most provinces you can call up the Queens Printers website and do some navigating or searches and you will come up with a digital copy of your provincial regulations.
Good Luck with your safety quest.
  • Posted 14 Apr 2006 11:55 PM
joey j:

If Labour Canada was in your facility, it must be one of those Ontario workplaces covered by federal jurisdiction. If so, the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations - SOR/86-304 would apply.
Here are some excerpts from PART XIV, MATERIALS HANDLING that might be of use. Note especially rule 14.44(1) - 750mm. (approximately 30 inches).

Materials Handling Area
14.38 (1) In this section, “materials handling area” means an area within which materials handling equipment may create a hazard to any person.
(2) An employer shall cause warning signs to be posted, or a signaller to be in control, at the approaches to any materials handling area while materials handling operations are in progress.
(3) Only the following persons may enter a materials handling area while materials handling operations are in progress:
(a) a health and safety officer;
(b) an employee whose presence in the materials handling area is essential to the conduct, supervision or safety of the materials handling operations; or
(c) a person who has been authorized by the employer to be in the materials handling area while materials handling operations are in progress.
(4) If any person other than a person referred to in subsection (3) enters a materials handling area, the employer shall cause the materials handling operations in the immediate vicinity of the unauthorized person to be immediately discontinued and to remain discontinued until the person has left that materials handling area. SOR/88-68, s. 14; SOR/88-632, s. 67(F); SOR/94-263, s. 65(F); SOR/96-400, s. 1; SOR/2002-208, s. 38.

Aisles and Corridors
14.44 (1) An employer shall provide a clearly marked pathway for the exclusive use of pedestrians and persons using wheelchairs and other similar devices that is not less than 750 mm wide along one side of an aisle, corridor or other course of travel that is found in a work place and that
(a) is a principal traffic route for mobile equipment, pedestrians and persons using wheelchairs and other similar devices; and
(b) exceeds 15 m in length.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply where a signaller or traffic lights are provided for the purpose of controlling traffic and protecting persons.
(3) Where an aisle, corridor or other course of travel that is a principal traffic route in a work place intersects with another route, an employer shall cause warning signs marked with the words “DANGEROUS INTERSECTION — CROISEMENT DANGEREUX”, in letters not less than 50 mm in height on a contrasting background, to be posted along the approaches to the intersection.
(4) At blind corners, mirrors shall be installed that permit a mobile equipment operator to see a pedestrian, a person using a wheelchair or other similar device, a vehicle or mobile equipment approaching the blind [url removed], s. 1; SOR/96-525, s. 15.

Clearances
14.45 (1) In any passageway that is regularly travelled by motorized or manual materials handling equipment, the employer shall ensure that
(a) an overhead clearance is at least 150 mm above
(i) that part of the materials handling equipment or its load that is the highest when the materials handling equipment is in its highest normal operating position at the point of clearance, and
(ii) the top of the head of the operator or any other employee required to ride on the materials handling equipment when occupying the highest normal position for the operator or employee at the point of clearance; and
(b) a side clearance is sufficiently wide to permit the motorized or manual materials handling equipment and its load to be manoeuvred safely by an operator, but in no case less than 150 mm on each side measured from the furthest projecting part of the equipment or its load, when the equipment is being operated in a normal manner.
(2) Where an overhead clearance measured in accordance with subparagraph (l)(a)(i) or (ii) is less than 300 mm, the employer shall cause
(a) the top of the doorway or object that<
  • Posted 19 Jun 2006 07:46 AM
Total replies: 8. Showing items 1 - 8 of 8 results.

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