How can workplace design prevent forklift accidents?

Preventing forklift accidents often begin with the design of the facility. While it's important for operators to have proper training, the environment plays a major role in avoiding forklift related injuries and fatalities.

Preventing Forklift Related Accidents

Avoid serious injuries by taking the following forklift safety tips into consideration when setting up your facility:

  • Aisle width: Aisles should be wide enough for a forklift to pass through without making contact with racking or other stored materials.
  • Columns: If your facility has structural columns in place, design aisles and racking around the columns while keeping the flow of materials in mind.
  • Clutter: Crowded aisle ways are a common cause of forklift accidents. Avoid collisions by cleaning up the area and organizing it with 5S.
  • Lighting: Poor lighting conditions can make it much more difficult for a forklift operator to navigate. Install additional lights in dark areas and for maximum distribution of light, ensure your warehouse has reflective walls, ceiling, and floor.
  • Pedestrians: Whenever possible, keep pedestrian walkways and forklift lanes physically separated with railings or barriers. Use floor marking and walkway striping to clearly identify pedestrian areas.
  • Speed: Maintaining a slow and safe speed is critical when operating such heavy equipment. Make sure loads are being transported safely by instituting a safe speed limit and enforcing it with speed limit signs.
  • Intersections: Prevent collisions at intersections by installing sensors to alert pedestrians to approaching forklifts. Install safety signs to remind forklift operators to slow and sound horn at intersections.

Operating a forklift already presents enough safety hazards—don't add to it with a poorly designed warehouse. Prevent forklift accidents and forklift fatalities by creating an environment that operators can travel around in safely. It's important for employers to go above the minimum standards set forth by OSHA to truly protect their workers. Want to find more ways to avoid forklift accidents? Check out our infographic all about safe forklift operation!


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