Whether in a warehouse or on a job site, the person operating the forklift will have received significant safety training so that he or she can get the job done without causing injury to anyone in the area. If you find yourself in either of these environments, however, it's important for you to play an active role in your safety — even if the person operating this piece of equipment is being safe, you don't want your negligence or inattention leading to an injury for you or anyone else. Here are some simple strategies that you can use to keep safe when you're around a forklift that is operational.
Don't Wear Earbuds
In many environments with a working forklift, you'll find yourself wearing hearing protection because of the noise of the machine. This might seem like an ideal time to sneak some earbuds connected to your MP3 player below the hearing protection — perhaps to help pass the time during a warehouse shift at work — but doing so will possibly make you unaware of your surroundings. The last thing you want to happen is for you to quickly move around the corner of a wall or shelving structure, just as the forklift is reaching the area. By reserving your earbuds for your break time, you'll always be able to hear when the forklift is approaching.
Don't Assume The Operator Can See You
You have to remember that even though you can see the forklift and its operator, you can't necessarily assume that he or she can see you. Remember, this person is highly focused on a task, whether it's loading a truck or carrying some palettes of materials from one location to another. You should never approach the forklift from the blind side, nor should you cut behind it because you assume the operator will stop for you. You should only ever go near the forklift after you've made eye contact with the driver.
Never Take Shortcuts Under The Forklift
In a confined area, a working forklift may block your access to another part of the warehouse or job site. For example, if the machine is loading some items off a top shelf and is sitting across the aisle, there may not be a place for you to pass. You should never take a shortcut under the forklift's raised forks. Doing so is one of the most dangerous things you can do, whether or not the driver sees you. Always wait for a clear path before proceeding or find an alternative route to your destination.