Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Operators

When entering a work environment with a forklift in use, safety should always be on the mind. OSHA requires all forklift operators to be trained and certified; however, there is no training requirement for pedestrians in the work area. To help maintain safe work environments, we would like to provide safety tips for both parties.


Forklift operators become comfortable working around their regular coworkers, but when a visitor or a new employee enters the space, it can be easy to assume the newcomer knows what to do. However, this is often not the case. As a refresher, here are five tips for the operator. 

1. Give pedestrians the right of way. Always stop when a pedestrian walk into or across the planned route. Once the person has safely passed by, then commence forward. 

2. Never drive close to anyone. If there is not enough space to safely pass alongside a pedestrian, warn them when you are getting near. Give them ample time to move safely out of the way.  

3. Look in the direction of travel. If an operator does not have a clear view, they should not move the truck. Wait until the line of sight is clear, and progress cautiously. 

4. When approaching a walkway, transitioning through a doorway, or exiting an aisle, stop and sound the horn. Warn pedestrians and other operators that a forklift is approaching.

5. Approach and leave aisles slowly. Drive cautiously in tight spaces and close proximity to other objects. 


When working alongside forklifts, be aware of the danger. Whether working around a forklift for decades or for the first time, this knowledge allows you to move through a work space safely. Here are five tips for pedestrians. 

1. Use dedicated walkways. Similar to a crosswalk at an intersection of streets, a dedicated walkway is made to keep the pedestrian safe and should be used whenever available. 

2. Stop, look, and listen. Forklift operators are trained to honk the truck's horn when crossing high traffic areas, going around corners, and whenever else view may be obstructed. Take heed of these sounds.

3. Understand that a forklift needs adequate time to stop. As a heavy piece of machinery, a forklift takes time to come to a complete halt.

4. Stand clear of working lift trucks. Depending on the product being moved, an operator's view may be obstructed. Unless they clearly see you, assume they don't, and move to the side. 

5. Make eye contact with the forklift operator. Stay clear of a forklift until eye contact is made with the operator and they are aware of your presence. 

Forklifts are a helpful tool in both warehouses and yards. They are also heavy machinery that must be safely maneuvered around. To maintain a safe work space, all operators need to be up to date on training, and those who enter the work area need to be aware of what to do when a forklift is in use. 


For more information about operator training and certification, call (503) 209-1021.