A forklift counterweight can show the failure in design and layout of a facility. Unlike automobiles, forklifts steer from the rear. This design creates a forklift tail swing during turns, moving the rear of the forklift to the opposite side of the turn.
Pedestrians and fixed objects such as walls, racking and products are at risk for a collision with the forklift’s counterweight, the heaviest part of the forklift. For pedestrians, the stakes are higher if they are caught between the forklift tail swing and another object.
Because every square foot of a warehouse is valuable, spacing of pallet racking and materials are often based on maximizing storage space, not safety concerns. However, advance planning of a warehouse layout and using the right forklift for the job can reduce injuries and damage caused by forklift tail swing.
Forklift Tail Swing Safety Tips
Consider the Equipment
What type of forklift is in production – sit-down or narrow aisle? Is it sized correctly for the application?
Set Up Warehouse Aisles & Pallet Racking Strategically
Has the right angle stacking position been properly calculated, allowing the minimum width and safety clearance needed for the forklift to load and unload after completing a 90 degree turn? Can the forklift safely turn near intersecting aisles?
Inspect the Load(s)
What are the dimensions of the load(s) moved by the forklift? Does the load have a unique size that goes beyond the pallet?
Invest in Forklift Operator Safety Training
Have all forklift operators been properly trained and refreshed every 3 years? Is a specific forklift operator struggling with safe turns? Are pedestrians creating additional accidents or near-misses?
Do you have guard rails installed in strategic locations near pedestrian traffic, protecting expensive machinery or at end of racking rows?
Concerned about safe driving at your facility? ProLift provides forklift operator training that meets OSHA requirements. Learn more about our class offerings – or, contact our safety specialist to schedule!