There’s no doubt about it – forklifts are an essential part of a modern warehouse. These trucks are literally the heavy-lifters in any industrial facility. Be it a simple walkie-stacker or a more complex order picker unit – forklifts aren’t going away any time soon.
As important as the forklift is to the warehouse – it’s also the number one hazard. Think about it. You’ve got a machine that potentially weighs a few tons careening around your warehouse among fragile racks, expensive machinery, and irreplaceable personnel. If you want to see some real carnage, search for ‘forklift accident’ on YouTube – go ahead…I’ll wait.
If you’re like me – that rattled your cage a little bit. The racks and other equipment we assume is indestructible crumbles like matchsticks when it comes in contact with a heavy lift truck. The damage incurred when a fork truck collapses a rack system is both frightening and happens remarkably fast. If a rack collision happens at your facility and there are no injuries to the lift truck driver or other employees – consider yourself lucky.
Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent and potentially avoid such accidents. Several common products exist to help mitigate the danger posed by lift trucks within your facility. Here, I’ll show you the top 5 forklift safety products that we sell through my company – SJF Material Handling.
1: Column Guards
This one is a no brainer. If you’ve got forklifts whizzing around storage racks of any kind, you should definitely employ column guards on the racks. These U-shaped protectors can either attach to the floor or the base of the racks and will absorb a hit from a forklift before the truck can damage your racking.
2: Post Protectors
Similar in concept to column guards, post protectors wrap around your buildings’ internal support posts. This way, you don’t risk a collapsing ceiling if a forklift driver accidentally hits a post.
3: Wire Deck
Wire decks are a great product for any pallet rack – they protect workers below from falling items as well as providing better floor access to overhead sprinklers. Typically, one wouldn’t think of them as a forklift safety device, however these can assist a driver by providing easier sight lines to the upper levels of pallet rack.
4: Floor Striping
In a perfect world, forklifts and walking traffic would never intersect. I don’t live or work in a perfect world, and I’m willing to bet that you don’t either. To make things ‘closer to perfect’ in a workplace where lift trucks and people inhabit the same spaces, you can mark out guides on the floor to separate traffic lanes or safety zones in your warehouse.
5: Guard Rails & Bollards
Manufacturing machinery is expensive. It represents not only a big expense, but also the viability of your business. If you lose a machine to an errant forklift, your operation could be down for days – or even weeks. You can protect machines, offices or any other sensitive areas with guard rails and bollards. These safety guards attach to the floor and provide a first line of defense from forklift trucks.
If you already have all or some of these in place in your warehouse – Congratulations! You’re contributing to your employees’ safety and well-being. If you don’t, I suggest you do a brief walkthrough of your facility. Identify areas where forklift traffic could pose a risk to the safety of machinery or people. If you have any questions about forklift safety equipment, please feel free to contact my company – SJF Material Handling. We have several warehouse experts who would be happy to help you improve your facility’s safety.
Kent Powell works for SJF Material Handling, Inc. in Winsted, MN. SJF specializes in providing warehouse equipment and services to companies large & small, nationwide. In business since 1979, SJF has helped thousands of companies find custom solutions involving from racks, conveyors, carousels and much more.