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Warehouse Safety: Pedestrians, Workstations, and Forklifts

January 9, 2023

Protecting employees at warehouse workstation areas from forklift accidents is essential for any business. Forklift accidents make OSHA’s top-10 list every year because forklifts are omnipresent in American warehouses and manufacturing industries. Warehouses and other forklift locations should be places where operators, pedestrians, and managers feel safe and protected as they work. In this blog we’ll be discussing some ways to operate forklifts safely in bustling warehouse environments.

Excellent traffic management means that you should have defined “go to, no-go” zones for both forklifts and warehouse employees. This is often accomplished with brightly painted floors or graphical floor stripes. But as forklift drivers rush, they may ignore normal forklift safety procedures and cut corners. One can block this by installing a few feet of industrial grade guardrail at corners. Guardrails play an essential role in protecting machinery, walkways, in-plant offices, personnel, inventory, and equipment from damage or harm.

forklift safety
industrial forklift



Be sure to enforce the rules once they are established. Determining rules and regulations for forklift operations, and requiring them to be followed, supervisors can try to maintain safety within the warehouse environment.


Forklift accidents cost businesses up to $135,000,000 every year. This is a hefty price to pay in cash and most importantly, human life. Thanks to the proper training though, up to 70% of accidents can be avoided. We’ll go over the importance of training and what it entails.

Training breeds competence. It can also instill a safety-first mindset into employees so that they’re engineered and encouraged to think safety forward. Training is best when it’s accessible, frequent, high quality, and up to date with trends.

A comprehensive and easy-to-understand employee training program is critical to the success and health of the organization. The best operators can act as trainers. This active teacher method is great because it utilizes their first-hand experience to apply theory to practice. Train-the-trainer programs are great ways to get operators equipped to teach. It can also give them the necessary skills to conduct inspections and workshops on the floor.


It’s important to hire competent operators. Evaluation of experience, training, and background is necessary to ensure that a person is right for the job. A competent operator is someone who can show up and do the work with a positive attitude and high attention to detail so they can easily spot safety issues. They must have regard for the safety of the team and be naturally prone to speak up or take the lead when safety is threatened.


Create specified pathways or travel ways to separate warehouse employees from forklift traffic. This helps to restrict people from entering areas where the forklift is operating. Making designated travel paths obvious helps to make sure that forklift operators know where to expect people. It’s not that operators should not always be alert for warehouse employees, but walkways help the operators to know where the high foot-traffic areas for workers are.


Make sure that operators and warehouse supervisors regularly check the forklift. That way the forklift can receive routine maintenance to make it so that it runs for many years.

However, it’s not all the forklift operator’s responsibility to make sure accidents don’t happen, but also the pedestrians or workers should be alert. Always adhere to guidelines, assigned exclusion zones and other areas designated safe. Behave as if they can never see you. Be careful of tail swings, reversing forklifts and forklifts always emerging from aisles.