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What Are Powered Industrial Trucks?

The term powered industrial trucks (PITs) is simply a fancier name for forklifts. Any movable, power-driven truck used to carry, push, pull, hoist, stack, or tier products is referred to as a powered industrial truck by OSHA. Some PITs can be ridden by the operator while others are controlled by being pushed.

Who Are Considered Pedestrians?

Many people are killed every year in the workplace as a result of being run over or crushed by vehicles. These individuals are referred to as pedestrians and are the people who travel on foot in the workplace. Pedestrians can include:

  • Employees
  • Members of the public
  • Visiting workers

OSHA Requirements Regarding Forklifts

OSHA has many standards that talk about how forklift operators can help keep pedestrians safe in the workplace.

Employers that use forklifts are required to give training that includes a performance evaluation of the operator with the exact type of forklift that that operator will be using. The employer must certify this training and evaluation, and the training and evaluation must cover all the required subjects outlined in the OSHA Requirements.

Operators are required to always yield the right of way to pedestrians. When someone walks across your intended path you must stop and then wait until the pedestrians pass. When driving in high-traffic pedestrian areas, proceed cautiously.

It is also important for operators to consistently follow the speed limits that are determined by your employer for your specific workplace.

Reminders For Operating a Forklift Around Pedestrians

Forklift operators play an essential role in the effective management of pedestrian safety at the workplace. It is important for these drivers to remember to:

Material Handling Equipment Distributor Association

The Material Handling Equipment Distributor Association (MHEDA) is a non-profit institution that specializes in material handling equipment.

MHEDA advises a maximum speed of 8 mph on average and a maximum speed of 3 mph when working near pedestrians or congested areas. This is a recommendation, not a mandated requirement or law, though. Depending on the details of the current operation, employers may decide to raise or lower the speed limits at their workplaces.

What Do Standards Say About Pedestrians?

OSHA also has standards that are specifically for pedestrians who work around heavy mobile equipment, like a forklift. Pedestrians have a responsibility to:

How Else Can Pedestrians Stay Safe Around Forklifts?

If there are rules, pedestrian walkways, or physical barriers separating pedestrians from the heavy moving equipment, be sure to always follow that rule or path to keep you and forklift operators safe.

Employer Responsibility in Pedestrian Safety

Employers are responsible for their employees’ safety. They are required to provide their employees with a hazard-free work environment. If this is simply not possible, they are responsible for providing equipment that will help to protect their employees. Therefore, employers also have specific responsibilities when it comes to managing pedestrian safety.

The following sections will go through six different factors that employers can use or implement to keep pedestrians safe at the workplace.

Warn Pedestrians

Informing pedestrians of the risks they may encounter at work is especially important if it is their first time visiting the building. Short safety orientations, notices, and signage can be used to do this.

Enable Pedestrians

Inform pedestrians about workplace safety precautions. They should be given a thorough explanation of the site’s policies, guidelines, and directions, as well as information on how to be safe.

Remind Pedestrians

Pedestrians who are familiar with the work premises and its activities may become complacent. Refresher training should be given as often as necessary. Additionally, this demonstrates the company’s dedication to pedestrian safety.

Control Pedestrians

To separate pedestrians and vehicles at the workplace, implement a traffic management plan. Prevent pedestrians from accessing restricted areas and, when possible, establish clearly marked routes. Additionally, establish crossing sites where pedestrians can cross vehicle routes that are clearly visible to both automobiles and pedestrians during both day and night operations.

Stay with Pedestrians

The workplace should not be a place where pedestrians can freely walk around. All visitors need to be supervised at all times, especially when nearing areas that could be dangerous.

Equip Pedestrians

Give pedestrians the necessary personal protective gear, such as high visibility clothes, especially if they work close to where vehicles operate or when workplace transportation is used.

Why Manage Pedestrian Safety?

In most workplaces, pedestrian safety and welfare are overlooked. Therefore, it is critical that their safety and well-being are given top priority. A company will benefit greatly from managing pedestrian safety in a variety of ways.

First and foremost, incidents involving pedestrians and vehicles will be less frequent. Second, regulating pedestrian safety makes operations run more efficiently. This is because keeping pedestrians and automobiles apart enables more effective operations, allowing both parties to concentrate on their respective tasks rather than on one another.

Forklift Operators & Pedestrian-Related Hazards

The most common hazard associated with pedestrians working around forklifts and other heavy mobile equipment is pedestrian injury or fatality, usually due to being hit or run over with the forklift. Take this case study into consideration:

Skylar had just finished repairing a grinder and was walking through the wrapping area with the intent to talk to one of her fellow coworkers who was operating a forklift. She climbed over the knee-high barrier between her workstation and the loading dock where forklift operators were transporting loads from one place to another. As she walked closer to her coworker, she was also approaching a stationary forklift from behind. Unexpectedly, the forklift began backing up and almost immediately ran over her foot. Skylar was hospitalized with multiple fractures and breaks in her right foot and ankle. She was unable to return to work for four weeks while her foot healed.

Had Skylar paid attention to and stayed within the barriers of her workstation, this accident would not have happened, She would have been able to work instead of sitting at home and waiting for her foot to heal.

For a quick refernce guide check out our forklift hand signals cards.

Forklift Training

We offer many different forklift training courses here at Hard Hat Training. Some are more specific to your vehicle, such as Pallet Jack Training, Walkie Stacker Training, and Tugger Training. Others are about the more general standards surrounding forklift operations, such as Stand-Up Forklift Training, Sit-Down Forklift Training, and Powered Industrial Trucks Training.