Pedestrian vs Forklift

Forklift operator training isn’t just about the drivers operating safely it’s also about being aware of what’s going on in their environment.

Pedestrians, not just people on the street and customers, but employees of the business as well.

YOU need to be alert!

When I am testing operators on the forklifts during my forklift operator training courses, I like to observe what is going on throughout the warehouse, plant or in the yard. I like to see how all the workers do their jobs and how they operate day to day; particularly when they are not aware I’m watching them.

When I’m conducting forklift operator training courses I often see things that make me cringe.

I see pedestrians walk up to an operator on a lift truck wanting to speak to them.

They just saunter up oblivious to the possible dangers. It amazes me. I often wonder how they have survived this long without injury or death for that matter. They don’t realize the danger.

You would never just walk up to a moving car. Why on earth would you approach a moving object that weighs a great deal more than a car?

When I’m doing forklift operator training I have even seen pedestrians walk up to the operator during the forklift practical test!

When the forklift is in motion, often the operator doesn’t even know the person is there until the last second when the pedestrian calls out to them.

Operators are so focused on their load they forget everything around them. Operators often assume no one is there.

At times forklift operators do not check their rear before backing up (another pet peeve of mine).

You wouldn’t back your car up without looking first, at least I hope not!

Never assume no one is around!!!

When I’m teaching forklift operator training I like to stress these points in my classes.

Pedestrians need to keep this in mind. They must be sure they have the forklift operator’s attention long before they get close to the forklift. They should be wearing high visibility apparel meeting at least Type 3 criteria of the WorkSafe standards. This can be in the form of a vest, jacket, coveralls or t-shirts.

If the pedestrian and operator are going to have a conversation, the operator needs to put the forklift in neutral, park brake on and lower the forks. The operator is to ensure the forklift is stationary and isn’t going anywhere!

Accidents can happen so fast when it comes to forklifts. It only takes a split second for something to go wrong.

I’m not just saying people who want to have conversations with the forklift operator are to be wary, all workers wondering around worksites or in warehouses etc. must be aware of the forklifts!

Here are a few helpful hints for pedestrians:

I always reinforce these points during my forklift operator training courses. I like to mention how pedestrians almost seem oblivious or too complacent around the forklifts.

Live long and prosper!!!

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