Did you know on average 34,900 serious injuries occur as a result from forklift accidents? With pedestrians and forklifts operating in close quarters, traffic management is critical to safely managing a facility.
There are many elements to a warehouse traffic management system – training, maintenance, PPE, facility layout, etc. and investing in one result higher production and overall better safety. Powered industrial trucks and personnel can travel around the facility without any issues when they understand the flow of traffic. Using floor marking, line the floors to minimize the cross flow of traffic at intersections and in blind spots. Installing floor marking tape can designate safe pedestrian walkways that will hold up even in heavy traffic. An important component for traffic safety is the use of safety signs. Signs are a simple and cost-effective way to reduce forklift accidents, increase the efficiency of your facility, and improve your overall warehouse traffic system.
Speed Limit Signs
Adhering to the speed limit is not just a rule of the road! When an operator is traveling too fast, their reaction time is shortened and the likelihood of a tip over is increased. Taking into consideration the type of forklift being used, the load being carried, surface conditions, adequate stopping distances, pedestrian traffic, and other safety concerns, employers should determine and post safe speed limits around the facility.
OSHA does not have an established forklift safe operating speed but provides guidance in a number of standards:
- “Under all travel conditions the truck must operate at a speed that will permit it to be brought to a stop in a safe manner.” [29 CFR 1910.178(n)(8)]
- “The driver must slow down for wet and slippery floors.” [29 CFR 1910.178(n)(10)]
- “The driver must slow down and sound the horn at cross aisles and other locations where vision is obstructed.” [29 CFR 1910.178(n)(4)]
Post speed limit signs around the facility to make sure operators know the rules and follow them, designating reduced speed areas around intersections, pedestrian crossings, narrow aisleways, or crowded storage areas. Don’t forget to hang signs in blind spots reminding operators to sound their horn and slow down while approaching.
Forklift Safety Signs
It’s important to use forklift safety signs as a reminder to operators, and not think of it as informing workers something they didn’t know. Posting safety signs in high traffic areas can help prevent a range of work-related incidents; a few examples include:
- Load Handling: Forklifts are top heavy and when a load is improperly handled, it can cause the forklift to tip. Remind operators to stack their load securely, keep their load low and stable, and to not give rides to other employees.
- Pedestrian Safety: Use safety signs to ensure operators are yielding the right of way pedestrians, as affirmed by OSHA. Alert operators to any crosswalks, intersections, or of other forklift traffic and clearly mark pedestrian walkways for visitors or personnel to locate.
- Safety Procedures: Forklift operators have several OSHA and company procedures they must be mindful of. Help operators remember procedures for inspecting forklifts, operating forklifts, loading and loading forklifts, parking forklifts, refueling forklifts, etc. with safety signs posted in parking areas and around the facility.
Safety signs for forklift operators should be clearly seen from a distance and installed above eye level. Make sure pedestrians are clearly informed by posting forklift signs on walls and door alongside designated lanes for foot traffic.
Do Not Enter Signs
Forklifts should only operate in the authorized areas. Create off-limit areas and make sure they’re marked clearly. Forklifts are not typically permitted to enter confined spaces and other hazardous areas. Consider where work is being done and if it is safe for forklifts to be in the space. OSHA does recommend to separate forklift traffic from other workers and pedestrians wherever possible.
When determining restricted areas for forklifts, think about braking distance, stability, and the loads handled. Signs should be posted at all entrances of restricted areas or around the perimeter to ensure the operator understands they cannot enter. “DANGER: Do Not Enter” or “Restricted Area signs will help your facility manage high traffic areas and keep pedestrians protected from hazards.
Clearly and consistently communicate with operators, facility visitors, pedestrians, and personnel to improve how your warehouse operates. Creative Safety Supply offers a wide range of safety signs, floor markings, and other traffic management supplies – whether you’re redesigning a traffic pattern or just starting your project, we can help.
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