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EQUIPMENT HAZARDS -

SAFETY RULES FOR PEOPLE WORKING AROUND INDUSTRIAL LIFT TRUCKS

Call them what you like -- forklifts, lift trucks, bulls. They can be a large part of any industrial operation. Most forklift safety training concentrates on the operators, with good cause. They are the ones who are maneuvering the heavy, and sometimes awkward, loads through aisles, around corners and up ramps.

A well-known lift truck manufacturer recently stated that 60% of injuries/fatalities involving lift trucks are sustained by co-workers, not operators. Like I said, most of the training concentrates on operator safety, not on the people who work around the lift trucks.

The following 7 tips are meant to raise the awareness of pedestrians:

  1. Establish eye contact with the forklift driver.
  2. Keep a safe distance from the lift truck and pay attention.
  3. NEVER assume the lift truck operator knows that you are there. Make yourself known.
  4. Watch out for the tail swing when a lift truck turns.
  5. Stay clear of the fall zone. This is a full circle around the lift truck equal to twice the height of the carried load.
  6. Check the mirrors that are installed at corners, etc. If there are no mirrors, talk to your supervisor and bring this up at your next safety meeting.
  7. Never walk under the raised forks of a lift truck. Even when empty, the forks could fall without warning.

Remember, it is easy to become immune to the dangers of working around a lift truck. With all of the noises that can occur during a work shift, back up and warning sounds can blend in with everything else. The key is to be aware of your surroundings.

There is one last thing you should remember. If you do get into an altercation with a lift truck, the lift truck will most likely win.

 

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