Forklifts are a necessary piece of equipment in most industrial settings but can become a hazard without proper training and safety features. Danser, Inc. recently installed a warning light system on three shop forklifts to help both operators and pedestrians better understand the risk zone.
Communication is a cornerstone of a safe work environment, especially in situations where foot traffic and large industrial vehicles co-exist. There are numerous ways to convey the hazards at play, including audible alarms, hand signals and vocal cues. However, certain situations can interrupt accurate interpretation of these indicators.
Audible alarms can become lost in the noise of industrial machinery and can be further muted by hearing protection. Hand signals and verbal prompts also have shortcomings. It is best practice to establish eye contact with the operator of any piece of equipment in addition to utilizing existing engineering controls. However, the operator must be able to see pedestrians to communicate that there is a hazard in the area. Manufacturers, particularly fabrication shops, often find themselves searching for a viable solution to this problem.
The installation of a warning light system on our industrial shop forklifts helps Danser mitigate the risk. It is a simple and cost-effective solution that does not rely on alarms, hand signals or vocal cues. Developed for warehouse settings where space is tight and lines of sight are poor, these lights project beams on the floor in front of, behind and to the sides of the vehicle.
The leading and trailing lights cast a blue rectangle nine feet in front of the vehicle. The side lights project a red line on the floor and are set at three feet on each side of the vehicle. These lines accurately project the swing radius of the forklift. As a result, staying outside the lines ensures pedestrians will not be struck. This system complements Danser’s standard safety procedures by providing an obvious visual indicator to employees when a forklift is in the area.
Installation was simple, and the units wired directly into the vehicle ignition system, eliminating the possibility of user error or neglect. If the key is on, the lights are on. A minor investment provides generous returns in workplace safety and employee peace of mind.
Employee buy-in was both immediate and widespread. According to cell leader Gary McConnell, “It takes the guesswork out and allows me to focus on more pressing issues.” Plant Superintendent Tim Buckley elaborated, “Realistically, it has always been difficult keeping aisleways clear, given the type of work we do day in and day out. These lights approached the hazard from a different angle. As a consequence, we are very happy with the results.”
At Danser, we hope sharing our experience will motivate others within industry to seek innovative ideas to drive efficiency, and most importantly, to work safely.