Some of the more devastating construction accidents involve industrial vehicles, such as forklifts, and pedestrian workers. The risk of such accidents is especially great on a construction site where pedestrian workers and industrial vehicles are often in close proximity to each other.
Preventing forklift accidents involving pedestrian workers is mostly a matter of key communication and training. Communication between forklift operators and pedestrian workers plays a huge role here. Forklifts are not designed to stop or brake suddenly, which is the reason why there are so many collisions involving forklift operators and pedestrian workers every year.
Construction workers must be trained to behave respectfully and to be aware of the dangers around the forklift. It is advisable that workers not be allowed into a zone where there is forklift activity. However, that may not always be possible on a construction site where workers often work very close to forklifts. In such cases, employers must train pedestrian workers about being visible around the forklift. For example, wearing high visibility vests can alert an operator about a pedestrian worker nearby.
Workers must also be trained to look for signs of a forklift in operation, such as flashing lights. Many forklift accidents occur because the operator did not see the worker until it was too late. Workers must be trained to identify a forklift horn as well as alarms which warn construction workers when a forklift is in reverse.
However, oftentimes a forklift may be in operation but may make minimal noise. Workers must be trained about identifying these situations, too. Forklift operators can try to grab a pedestrian worker’s attention in a dangerous situation by using alarm systems, words, gestures, or making eye contact with the worker.