Forklift accidents account for 61,800 minor injuries, 34,900 serious injuries, and 85 forklift related deaths every year, according to OSHA estimates. With almost 900,000 forklifts in operation at any given time in the Unites State, those numbers amount to a 1 in 10 chance that each forklift working in your facility will be involved in an accident this year. That's not great odds for the safety record at your facility – someone at your facility could be injured this year due to a forklift accident.
Forklift collisions account for about 46% of total forklift accidents including crush injuries where personnel are trapped between two forklifts, between a forklift and stationary surface, or where pedestrians are struck by a forklift. The numbers clearly show that the odds are against you unless you take action to mitigate those risks. We all know education is an important element in increasing safety, but it works only as well as the training done and the attentiveness of both drivers and pedestrians. More must be done in key areas of collision prevention, traffic control and pedestrian safety measures in order to reduce your risks.
Reducing collision risks include adding guard rail to limit forklift access and to protect people and products from injury and damage. By creating barriers between heavy forklift traffic and people, you reduce the chance that a forklift will be able to cross over into work zones, but what about people entering into the forklift's work zone? This is where traffic control measures need to be taken.
By adding traffic controls such as motion detection systems that alert both drivers and pedestrians to movement in an area, you begin to seriously reduce collision risk. When motion is detected, a collision awareness traffic sensor will trigger a flashing light, making all in the area aware of traffic nearby. Some systems also include audible alarms that further increase the safety factor. But you still have people able to move into forklift traffic, whether through habit, the nature of their job, or just being distracted.
How do you assure the pedestrian is making a conscious choice and is aware of the danger involved in that choice? By creating pedestrian crossing points that are controlled by gates.
The gates you choose for crossings need to be more than simple pass-through's. They must require action on the part of the pedestrian before the crossing is clear to walk over. A simple push button actuated system like AisleCop forklift safety gates provides that extra measure of safety that stops the pedestrian until they actuate the gate.
The AisleCop safety gate system will only actuate if the crossing is defined. Motion detection sensors monitor the forklift traffic zone and will allow access to cross if there is no forklift traffic detected. If a forklift is detected, the gates will refuse to open until the crossing is clear. Once the crossing is clear, the gate will open and crossing barriers will bar forklift traffic while pedestrians walk across. Once pedestrians are clear of the crossing, the gates close and the barriers lift for the forklift traffic. A simple system – a simple solution that finally puts the odds in your favor.