How dangerous is a moving forklift? According to Prolift, the average weight of a forklift is nine thousand pounds, plus a forklift can reach speeds of six to twelve miles per hour. However, since forklifts often work in the vicinity of Illinois pedestrians, this machine can present a life threatening hazard to a person who is not aware of a forklift’s presence. Proper safety measures, however, can help prevent a tragic accident.
OSHA points out that when a forklift approaches a pedestrian, the pedestrian possesses the right of way. For this reason, a forklift driver should take all possible measures to alert the pedestrian of the forklift’s presence, including slowing the forklift’s velocity and pressing on the horn. There are also occasions when a forklift approaches a place where a pedestrian may emerge into the forklift’s path. The lift driver should take the same precautions. If a visible pedestrian does not appear to heed the forklift’s presence, the forklift driver should halt the vehicle.
Awareness can be hampered by technological devices. If a pedestrian is wearing ear buds connected to a phone or a music player, the person will likely be too distracted to realize a forklift is approaching until it is too late. A pedestrian could also be texting on a phone or in a verbal phone conversation. A forklift driver should be vigilant for signs that a pedestrian’s senses are being occupied by a device.
Workplaces that utilize forklifts should make the effort to educate forklift drivers and workers who perform their tasks on foot on proper forklift safety. This not only includes informing workers to be aware of an approaching forklift, but knowing to stay away from lifts when they elevate loads high above a person’s head. Loads that are high off the ground could fall and kill anybody who is underneath. Employees should also know to stay out the blind spots of a forklift.
However, workplaces will often receive guests who are not aware of workplace protocols. To help protect unwary individuals, workplaces can mark paths for pedestrians to walk in areas where forklifts operate. Restricting access to places where forklifts operate can also keep people out of danger. Forklifts themselves could be made more conspicuous with the use of flashing lights and alarms.
This article is intended to inform readers about forklift accidents and does not offer legal advice.