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Forklifts pose dangers to operators and pedestrians

Whether working at a construction site, in a large warehouse or at a big box retailer; forklifts are readily used to lift and move materials and goods. While often essential to the daily operations and functions at these types of workplaces, forklifts can also be extremely dangerous.

In addition to possible injuries suffered by forklift operators, pedestrians who work in near proximity to or come across forklifts are also at risk of being hit or struck by these moving machines. To reduce the hazards posed by forklifts, employers would be wise to ensure that operators are properly trained and that safety precautions are in place to ensure for the safety of pedestrians.

When moving or transporting goods, forklift operators must often navigate through worksites with reduced visibility. In many cases, chaotic construction sites and crowded warehouses make it difficult to impossible for forklift operators to see objects or obstructions including pedestrians.

To ensure for the safety of both forklift operators and pedestrians, employers would be wise to provide for a spotter who can ensure that an operator has a clear path. In cases where a spotter is not provided, machinery should be outfitted with safety equipment including horns, lights and backup alarms.

Construction site and warehouse managers would also be wise to ensure that the work environments in which forklifts are operated are clear of unnecessary obstructions. When possible, it's wise to provide pedestrians with walkways and to utilize stop and crossing signs.

Workers who are injured while operating a forklift or while walking on a worksite would be wise to immediately report any and all injuries to an employer. In cases where a worker requires medical treatment, workers' compensation benefits should cover costs related to medical care, lost wages and disability.

Source: OSHA.gov, "Understanding the Workplace: Pedestrian Traffic," March 27, 2015

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