Conquering the Forklift Blind Spot
Forklift blind spot safety practices continue to miss the mark. Not only is training an important practice to implement within the facility, but also having an extra set of eyes. It could mean having another person there guiding you through some of the forklift blind spots safety risks, but it could also mean that its time to invest in technology that alerts you when a person is too close to the forklift, or that you are too close to another object which can damage but the equipment as well as the object(s). In fact, in Q1 2023 alone, SIERA.AI tracked 97 pedestrian near misses per worksite, and 20 pedestrian near misses per asset or lift truck. And yes, that does mean every day of the month, including Saturday and Sundays. What decisions would you make with information like that?
What Does Forklift Blind Spot Safety Mean?
Forklift blind spot safety are the precautions a facility needs to make in order to avoid accidents where the forklift operator is unable to ‘see’ in areas that are blocked or not easily seen as the operator needs to adjust in order to view a particular area. Add poor lighting and unmarked flooring and the risk for pedestrian or object crossover rises.
Rules of the Road…Eh, Facility
We all know the rules of the road means yielding to pedestrians. In a car or on a motorcycle, that can be more easily done as the only task at hand is paying attention to the road and what’s going on around you. However, forklift operators are lifting, moving and shifting loads. How can an operator do two things at once: Watch for pedestrians and complete their job tasks. They simply cannot.
Use a Spotter
One way to help with forklift blind spot safety is to use a spotter, or a second person to watch so pedestrian and objects don’t get caught in the blind spot. It is a good way to maintain safety, however, can the company afford using two people to do a single job? And how often do you use the spotter? Do you use a spotter for all areas? Only a few areas?
Forklift Safety System
Utilizing technologies such as AI, machine learning can work to protect the forklift operator, the equipment, product and the facility itself. This is accomplished with a forklift safety system that is used to be those eyes. The AI camera scans every 60ms searching for pedestrians and objects that are at risk for colliding with the forklift. When a pedestrian or object is identified, the information is communicated to the forklift operator in two ways:
- Visual Warnings: The tablet installed on the forklift contain a tablet. The tablet’s screen will begin to flash on and off with a picture or symbol of a human or a box. The system can detect the difference between the two.
- Audio Warnings: Along with the flashing symbol of a human or box, comes an audio warning. The sound is different and loud enough to capture the attention of the forklift operator. By utilizing both audio and visual warnings, it will help keep the operator, pedestrians and objects safe from harm and damage.
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