A forklift operator has a responsibility to be aware of pedestrians and other operators. In a busy warehouse this is not an easy task. To help keep their employees safe, many companies are investing in safety accessories for their forklifts, such as mirrors, back-up alarms, strobe lights and fire extinguishers.
Mirrors are affordable, easy to install and can be placed either indoors or outdoors. A benefit of having a mirror for a forklift operator is the decrease in physical strain on the body and neck as he or she attempts to watch all sides of the path. Most importantly, the wide angle views and capability to see blind spots can prevent a collision with other forklifts and pedestrians.
Back-up alarms are installed to alert others that a forklift is near, adding a sound dimension beyond the forklift’s horn. If the level of noise varies in the work environment, a “smart alarm” option gives flexibility by listening to the surroundings and adjusting the decibel level accordingly. Although the option is not required by federal law, if the forklift is manufactured with a back-up alarm it must be kept in working condition and never disconnected.
Strobe lights are flashing lights used as a visual cue to pedestrians and other operators that a forklift is approaching. To be effective, the strobe light must be seen by workers and like the back-up alarm, it must be kept in working condition if the forklift is manufactured with the option.
Fire extinguishers are not a required feature on a forklift; however, the work environment is the key factor when determining its placement. Forklifts can be considered a source of ignition. If the work environment includes flammable material, it provides the forklift operator additional protection.
When placed in the proper warehouse atmosphere, safety accessories can be effective for accident prevention; however, they should never replace the use of horns, spotters or areas restricted to pedestrian traffic. And because an accessory is only as effective as the person using it, advantages of using the safety accessory should be stressed to those conducting pre-shift forklift inspections and operating the forklift.
Think a safety accessory is right for your forklift and warehouse application? Answer our 11 questions to learn the best accessory to put in place or click here to review our online product catalog.
11 questions to ask when considering safety accessories:
- Could a safety accessory have prevented a recent accident?
- Are blind spots prevalent throughout the warehouse or in a specific area?
- Have operators complained of neck strain?
- Do operators frequently forget to sound the forklift’s horn?
- Is the warehouse well lit?
- Are forklifts used primarily in daylight?
- Is the warehouse very large or small, causing sounds to be distant or overwhelming?
- Is the warehouse naturally noisy?
- Would a back-up alarm potentially cause hearing loss?
- Are forklifts operated near flammable materials?
- Were the forklifts manufactured with a safety accessory?