Watch Out for Blind Spots

Blind spots are some of the most common reasons behind forklift-related accidents. Many workers have experienced the shock of stepping out onto an aisle or turning a corner only to find a forklift coming towards them at an uncomfortable speed.

Many workers are only alive today because the forklift operator managed to stop the truck in time, but others haven’t been as lucky.

Where Do You Find Blindspots

A blindspot is any location where an operator’s visibility is limited. A common blindspot is any sharp corner along the path of the forklift. The driver can’t see what’s around the sharp corner and this can lead to an accident. However, blind spots can be created in other places including:

  • Where a door opens up to an aisle
  • In the outdoors when the weather is poor
  • Plant or warehouse sections where a lightbulb is out
  • Near large or stacked loads

An operator’s view can also be obstructed by a large load. The fork carriage, mast, and other forklift parts can also obstruct the driver’s vision without a load. If the driver’s view is significantly obstructed by a load, they should travel in reverse.

Avoiding Collisions In Blindspots

It’s not possible to eliminate blind spots, but with certain precautions, driving near them can be safer. Precautions that can be put in place include:

  • Slowing down: Moving at a slow speed makes it easier to notice blind spots and stop the forklift in case another forklift or a worker is coming from the other side. A slow speed also reduces the shock of an abrupt stop which might destabilize a heavy load.
  • Use a spotter: Having someone looking around the corner and warning others of your approach is a simple way of avoiding collisions.
  • Install pedestrian safety lights: These lights are aimed some distance around the forklift and alert pedestrians of your approach. They can also form a virtual boundary around the forklift to keep pedestrians back.
  • Use mirrors and cameras: Use the forklift’s mirrors and cameras to know what is happening around you. Convex mirrors can also be installed near blindspots so operators and pedestrians can see what’s around the corner.
  • Pay attention to lighting: Whether it’s bad weather outdoors or a darker area in the warehouse, the forklift driver should take note of any changes in lighting conditions.

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