Safety Talk

The Pedestrian Safety Challenge

I. Safety Talk for Pedestrians

According to a recently completed study of incidents involving Powered Material Handling Vehicles, forty-three percent (43%) of these incidents involve a pedestrian, someone like you, either walking down the aisle, or simply standing still. As we learned in our PMHV-Pedestrian Training, "Accidents involving pedestrians and PMHVs are a reality. They have resulted in serious injury and even death. The question is ‘How do we stop accidents from occurring?’"

That question is the subject of this safety talk - how as pedestrians we can help to prevent PMHV-Pedestrian incidents from happening. You’ve seen some of the efforts already in place - the pedestrian aisles assist in keeping pedestrians off to one side, allowing the PMHV operators better access to the rest of the aisle way. All of you should have been trained in the Pedestrian Safety Module of the PMHV Safety Training Program. Despite these measures, there are still incidents occurring in our plants. At least once or twice a week, someone is getting hurt in an incident involving a powered material-handling vehicle. Over one-half of these incidents involve a pedestrian who is either entering an aisle, or is already in the aisle when the incident occurs. Other incidents involve pedestrians who are either at their workstations, standing alongside a PMHV. Forklifts are the most common vehicles involved in PMHV/Pedestrian incidents.

Here are some additional measures that we will be taking in order to minimize the chances of someone getting struck by a vehicle:

First, we will adjust all in-plant vehicles so that the headlamps are lit as soon as the key is turned to the on position. We believe this will serve as a valuable visual aid to all pedestrians.

Second, we are going back to a very basic principle of PMHV training - sounding the horn whenever a pedestrian is approached. This was taught to all of our PMHV operators during their initial training, and is stated very clearly in their handbooks. Every PMHV operator is being instructed to start using their horn as a warning device whenever they load material at your workstation, whenever they approach a pedestrian and whenever they are approaching blind corners and intersections. So when you hear a driver sounding the horn, please don’t take it personally, they are just doing their job and if anything, you just might want to say "thanks!"

Finally, for those employees who are assigned to work in congested and restricted areas where high traffic volumes are present, we will be issuing high-visibility vests for them to wear to make them clearly visible to the drivers.

We are optimistic that these extra measures will help to minimize the risk to pedestrian safety, but we still depend on you to follow the basic pedestrian safety rules:

  • Watch your path of travel. Know what’s immediately in front of you as well as what’s farther ahead of you.

  • Use the pedestrian aisles.

  • Use caution when approaching intersections, and use the convex mirrors to help you see down aisles at blind corners.

  • If an industrial truck is in your path of travel, stop until you are sure the operator sees you. Use "stop-and-go" hand signals to communicate who will proceed first.

Thank you for your help in our Pedestrian Safety Initiative.

From the Safety Team, Ken Williams and Dennis Keezer.