Floor Marking and Forklift Safety
- Improve Vehicle Safety by Utilizing Lean Manufacturing Products
- Improve Forklift Efficiency with Floor Marking Tape
- Planning and Implementing a Successful Floor Marking Strategy
Safety is Efficiency
Forklifts are essential at places such as construction sites, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities. These large industrial vehicles are an efficient way to move products around a building and they can even travel both indoors and out. With the many different types of forklifts available, they can be used in almost any type of industrial environment.
Many different types of visual communication tools exist to ensure these industrial vehicles operate safely and efficiently. For example, safety signs can depict a warning for high forklift traffic, which will warn pedestrians of the presence of forklifts. Safety labels can be used inside the forklift itself to remind drivers to put on their seat belts as well. However, one of the most effective visual tools for operating a forklift in any area is that of floor marking.
In addition to safety, it is also important to make sure these machines operate as efficiently as possible. Workers in the area rely heavily on the items these vehicles deliver. By using visual safety strategies such as floor marking and methods like Lean manufacturing and 5S, it is also possible to dramatically improve the way forklifts travel.
Floor Marking and Forklift Safety
Safety is the primary goal whenever using any type of machinery. This is especially true for forklifts since they have so much potential to cause injuries in the event of improper use. For that reason, it is important to familiarize yourself with the many risks and other hazards associated with them. The following is a list of the most common reasons for serious injury or death when working around these dangerous industrial vehicles:
- Tip Overs - If a forklift is overloaded, it can tip over, causing serious injury to the operator as well as the people in the area.
- Collisions with Pedestrians - Forklift operators often have an obstructed view of the area around them because of the load they are carrying. This puts pedestrians at serious risk.
- Collisions with Objects - When driving or loading a forklift, it is important to make sure the vehicle and its forks don't bump shelving or other objects. This couldcause them to fall over, which is a very serious risk.
- Ledges - When operating near a ledge, it is possible to roll the vehicle over if the driver is not especially careful.
These are just a few of the many risks commonly associated with industrial vehicles. You can see ten types of accidents involving a forklift caught on video here:
As can be seen here, it is clear there are many risks associated with these vehicles. However, using special industrial vinyl tape can dramatically improve forklift safety.
Improve Vehicle Safety by Utilizing Lean Manufacturing Products
Industrial vehicles travel up and down aisles constantly putting things on shelves, taking other things down, and bringing items to where they need to go. Because of the machine's frequency of use, there are more opportunities for physical hazards to present themselves within the area. This next section specifically covers the occupational safety responsibilities of those in charge of training as well as visually alerting workers of danger.
In short, there are three big aspects of forklift safety that employers should be concerned with, those being the following:
- Separating machine pathways and pedestrian pathways
- Implementing appropriately marked sections around electrical panels, fire protection equipment, loading docks, permanent aisles, and other hazardous areas
- Creating a more visible workplace that follows OSHA regulations to mitigate hazards
For example, floor tape can be used to mark aisles or where an aisle ends so the operator does not accidentally cross over that line and knock any shelving units over.
In addition to making sure drivers avoid getting too close to the shelves, floor marking tape also lets others know not to let any items on the shelves stick out too far, a critical element in a 5S organization. This is because if something is sticking out past the floor marking tape, it becomes a physical hazard for the operator.
Aisle markings used to mark permanent aisles within the workplace work the same as what can only be equated to traffic lanes for both forklifts, and pedestrians as well. Marking any other hazards such as the location of flammable liquids or electrical panels is a requirement by OSHA and ANSI. That's where color-coding comes into play. We'll go over that later.
Managing the Flow of Traffic
Managing the flow of traffic in the presence of multiple forklifts or other industrial vehicles is critical for pedestrian safety. Just like on a normal road, floor markings can let everyone know which way they should be traveling, when they need to stop, which direction of traffic has the right of way, and much more.
There are options for facility marking signs such as stop signs, yield signs, and speed limit signs. Having these items on the floor helps ensure forklift operators and others in the facility can easily see them.
Keep Pedestrians Safe with Floor Marking Lines
Having floor tape that alerts pedestrians of the presence of forklifts in aisles and passageways can significantly reduce the risk of a collision. When people can see that pedestrians should not be walking in the area, they are much more likely to use the designated walking zones.
Anything a facility can do to keep heavy machinery and pedestrians away from each other will help improve safety quite significantly.
Marking Physical Hazards with Floor Tape Improves Safety
If a facility or worksite has specific physical hazards, it is important to make sure the forklift operators are aware of them well before they get too close. Putting floor markings several feet or more around a hazard like an electrical panel can ensure the operator has plenty of time to react properly.
Hazards are often found in areas where these vehicles are in use. That includes ledges, containers with hazardous materials, gas tanks, load-bearing supports, and unstable ground. Using highly visible or even reflective floor marking tape around these hazards can improve facility safety.
Improve Worker Visibility with Vinyl Tape
While all floor tape is a type of visual communication, certain types of floor marking tape can improve visibility. Facilities that have areas with low lighting can benefit from applying reflective or glow-in-the-dark floor marking tape. This will allow forklift drivers to see where they are going even in low-light areas.
Even when there is plenty of light in a normal situation, having reflective or glow-in-the-dark floor marking tape can be extremely helpful during emergencies. If the power goes out, this type of vinyl tape will be easily visible and can be used to highlight a path toward the nearest exit or other safety zones.
Improve Forklift Efficiency with Floor Marking Tape
In addition to helping keep employees safe, floor marking tape can help forklift operators do their jobs more efficiently. Implementing a good floor marking strategy is a great tool that will work to prevent downtime, improve organization, keep forklifts traveling as quickly and safely as possible, and generally reduce waste in the facility.
As your resident Lean experts, and leaders in the visual safety industry, we have everything you need to complete the following:
- Establish efficient vehicle and pedestrian routes
- Mark off your facility into segments such as parking, work cells, general operations, storage areas, finished goods, etc.
All our Lean manufacturing products today have the goal of helping you improve efficiency at your workplace. You'd be surprised how much organization comes into play when floor marking tape is used.
Establish Efficient Forklift Routes with Floor Marking Tape
In most facilities, industrial vehicles travel on the same or similar paths
repeatedly throughout the day to transport products, raw materials, and parts to where they need to go. When this is the case, floor marking tools can be put down to identify the most efficient route possible for these vehicles to take.
By establishing a procedure to follow the preset routes, the forklift operators will be able to get their jobs done much more efficiently than would otherwise be possible.
Segment Facilities with Floor Tape
Many warehouses and other facilities are very large, so it can become difficult to find the exact location where someone needs to go. Using floor marking materials to segment the facility can help everyone find what they are looking for.
Facilities can use red floor marking tape for one area, white tape, blue for another, green for a fourth, and so on. Then when someone needs to dispatch a forklift, they can simply instruct the driver to go to the green area, aisle four, or something to that effect. The facility can make as many different segments as are needed to ensure everyone can easily find their destination.
Identify Parking Spaces for Forklifts and other Equipment
If a facility owns and maintains many industrial vehicles, having them parked in an organized way when not in use is very important. Many facilities have a set spot for each vehicle, so the operators know exactly where they need to go to get the vehicle they need.Using floor marking to identify parking spaces in the facility can go a long way toward keeping everything in its place
Use Floor Markings to Identify Where Inventory Goes
When forklifts are bringing inventory throughout the facility, they need to know exactly where it should be put down. Floor marking tape can be used to mark off squares for pallets so the operators can put each one exactly where it needs to go. Having pallets organized will ensure there is plenty of room for the entire inventory.
The same concept can be applied to putting items up on shelving. Each forklift load should be placed in as straight and even of a line on the shelves as possible. Having floor markings to indicate how the forklift operator should line up the vehicle with the shelf can be helpful.
Planning and Implementing a Successful Floor Marking Strategy
Facilities that can plan out and implement a successful floor marking strategy can dramatically improve overall safety while also improving efficiency. These are two of the most important items for the success of any business.
Not only that, but floor marking is also very affordable and easy to implement in comparison to paint that often chips away too soon. That being said, industrial floor marking options such as vinyl tape makes for an excellent solution for many workplaces.
OSHA Compliant Color-Coded Floor Tape
You wouldn't choose tape at random. Just like all other visual communication, picking out the colors you'll use for your floor markings must be methodical. Some of the best resources you'll find on color-coding are with ANSI, OSHA, and Creative Safety Supply, of course!
Check out our free guide on color-coding your future floor markings here. You'll be forever on top of marking physical hazards within the workplace with the best floor marking guide online.
What Vinyl Tape Should You Choose?
Now, we know it may be overwhelming to try and pick out the right type of tape for your floor marking adventure, especially when keeping employees safe is on your mind. Luckily for you, Creative Safety Supply has created what we call the floor tape finder.
By asking you a handful of different questions about your unique environment, we can help you choose the perfect floor marking material for your workplace. One that will last the longest, provide the best visibility, and a tape that rivals the short-lived paint strategy. Find the right tape for your operational purposes and start shopping here!
Sustaining All Floor Marking
Finally, it's shitsuke - the last pillar in Five-S. Shitsuke is intended to give the employees of a company the confidence and self-respect they need to continue earning the benefits from these pillars. If employees take progressively better care of their work environment, the workplace may lessen the likelihood that it becomes erratic, dangerous, or inefficient.
These floor markings you will work to place down provide an unmistakable reminder of facility maintenance efforts. This helps both employees and the management focus on proactive maintenance and improving efficiency whenever possible.
If you're interested in learning more about 5S, check out this free downloadable guide!
Safety is Efficiency
The safety improvements listed above are great for keeping the facility safe, but they also do a great job of improving efficiency. Any type of accident in a facility will result in a work stoppage, and if someone is injured, he or she may not be able to work until they are healed. These problems are in addition to the monetary losses from damage, medical expenses, and more.
Implementing the safety standards listed above will have a positive impact on the overall efficiency of the facility as well. Floor markings are an excellent way to improve safety, and therefore efficiency, in any facility.
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