Forklift and Pedestrians – Safe Working Distances

Welcome back to Wallace Forklift Training blogs. Although our forklift training has been operational throughout the COVID-19 lockdown as forklift drivers were deemed key workers, some of our admin staff had a break.

In this blog, we look at the safety of pedestrians working in the vicinity of forklift operations. In UK, about 1300 workers are injured each year by forklift truck accidents. According to RIDDOR, 75% of these are impact with pedestrians that were completing tasks unrelated to the forklift truck operation.  In our July 2019 blog titled Fatal Forklift Truck Accident reported by Health and Safety Executive (HSE), we highlighted the case of Christine Workman who was struck by a forklift truck while walking on a designated pedestrian area. Therefore, a question arises that what is a safe distance to work while in vicinity of a forklift operation?

Ideally, there should be no pedestrians in the vicinity of a forklift operation. However this is not is not always possible.  To minimise the risks, some companies opt for generic safe distance rule across the entire site. However, not all tasks are the same and each task has its own risks associated with it. Therefore, each task must have a risk assessment carried out followed by appropriate safe systems of work procedures to minimise the risk of accidents.

A lot of third party injuries occur to colleagues working alongside forklifts. These could be due to falling loads or unstable loads which a colleague is trying to help stabilise. This should never happen as it is likely to lead to severe injuries or even fatalities. A falling load may damage goods but if no one else is in the vicinity, it will not cause injury to the third party.  In the January 2020 blog title Work Related Fatal Injuries Data from HSE, we highlighted a case of Michael Douglas Autosalvage where a forklift was being loaded on to a recovery vehicle. The metal ring on the forklift truck that the winch wire was attached to failed, causing fatal injuries to a third party.

Another key issue to avoid accidents is to ensure that the forklift driver as well as all workers are well trained and are aware of the risks associated with forklift operation.

Wallace School of Transport is a fully accredited RTITB company with over 50 years’ experience. You can be trained either at your own work site or at Wallace Centre in Park Royal. If you have any questions, call Wallace Forklift Training on 020 8453 3440, choose option 3 or click here to email us.

Preventable Forklift Truck Accidents
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