Keep your pedestrian staff safe from forklifts

BodyGuard Safety Solutions
Monday, 11 October, 2021


According to a recently published article by SafeWork NSW, accidents involving a forklift happen six days a week and pedestrian workers are being killed or seriously injured primarily due to inadequate separation between forklifts and pedestrians.

All companies are responsible “as far as practicable” to provide a safe workplace. Hazards must be identified, the risks accessed and processes or controls to be put into place to eliminate or control the risks.

The cost of improving safety for staff that work around or near forklifts is far outweighed by the cost of an accident. Consequences of a single accident involving a pedestrian and forklift can include:

  • Expensive fines, court cases or imprisonment
  • Cost of shutdown during SafeWork investigation
  • Loss of morale
  • Poor safety record reputation
     

Traditionally, safety barriers, training and safety directives have been used to improve safety around forklifts. However, it is often not practical to install safety barriers in many work areas and this leaves safety initiatives that rely on human factors and still result in accidents occurring.

Some of the factors that make it difficult to protect pedestrian workers are:

  • Driver and pedestrian inattention
  • Driver and pedestrian non-compliance with safety directives and processes
  • Blind spots around forklifts or work areas
  • Poor visibility (wet, dusty, dirty) environments
     

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Stella

When looking at alternate methods to minimise or eliminate the possibility of interaction between pedestrian workers and forklifts, some points are important to take into consideration.

  • Does the solution rely on forklift drivers or pedestrians to be always paying attention (will pedestrians need to judge distance to stay away from forklifts or look at the ground for a light when systems like “Halo” are used)?
  • Does the solution reply on 100% compliance with all safety directives?
  • Will the solution slow down or interfere with normal workflow (does the forklift driver need to look at a screen and be distracted from controlling the forklift — as in case of camera systems)?
  • Is the system certified for use in Australia?
  • Is the system easy to understand and operate?
     

BodyGuard Solutions’ “BodyGuard pedestrian safety warning system” provides an effective solution to minimise or eliminate possibility of incidents involving forklifts and pedestrian workers. The system is an electronic control that sets up a safety exclusion zone around the forklift. If pedestrian workers wearing Tag pendants breach the safety exclusion zone, both the driver of the forklift and pedestrian worker get a warning. The driver sees a highly visible warning and hears a clear human voice stating “Look Out! Person near you” (just as if the driver had a buddy sitting next to them keeping watch). The pedestrian’s Tag will also vibrate at that time. Once the pedestrian worker is outside the safety exclusion zone of the forklift, the alarm stops.

The Tag pendants do not require any programming. The safety exclusion zone distance around the forklift is adjustable for each forklift according to the identified risk of that forklift. So, if one forklift was set for 3m zone and another for 6m zone then any Tag will trip the alarm when breaching the 3m safety zone of the first forklift and then if breaching the 6m zone of the second forklift. This means the system is 100% universal across sites and companies. Meaning, if several different companies had the system fitted then their pedestrian workers are each protected from forklift dangers of the other companies’ vehicles as well as their own.

The system solves the problem of separating pedestrian staff from forklifts and has many benefits.

  • Detects pedestrian workers through solid objects
  • Does not require line of sight
  • Operates in dirty, dusty, wet environments with poor visibility
  • Does not rely on human judgement of distance to keep away from forklift
  • Operates during times of inattention of forklift driver or pedestrian worker
  • Does not interfere with normal workflow. The system is basically invisible until a person wearing a Tag pendant breaches the forklift’s safety exclusion zone
  • Design, manufactured in Australia by BodyGuard Safety Solutions (ensuring technical support from the designer, mitigated delays in supply due to current global chip shortage and typically available ex-stock)
  • RMC compliance for Safety, RFI and EMC in Australia
  • Simple to install using magnetic attachment and easy to set up
  • Forklift safety exclusion zone adjustable from 2m minimum distance to around 9m maximum distance
     

You can protect your pedestrian workers from the dangers of injury or death caused by an incident with a forklift for less than the cost to have two crowns put onto your teeth.

Contact us today to see how we can help you improve safety around your forklifts.

BodyGuard Safety Solutions

29B Amsterdam Circuit, NSW 2259, Australia

Phone: 02 43 554 554

Web: www.bodyguardsafety.com.au

Email: sales@orbitcoms.com

Top image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Halfpoint

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