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Forklift Pedestrian Safety

forklift training

Whether you work on the docks in Vancouver or in a warehouse in Burnaby, forklift operators need to keep themselves safe and also ensure the safety of the pedestrians around them. Pedestrians can be co-workers, customers, truck drivers or just someone visiting the jobsite. Its not just up to the forklift operator to ensure pedestrian safety, non operators working or walking around these heavy machines also have a responsibility to ensure they have taken the precautions to be seen and heard. Developing safety procedures for pedestrian safety at your jobsite is key to keeping everyone safe. Lets take a look at some ideas your jobsite could implement for pedestrian safety.


  • Operators should always yield and give the right of way to pedestrians. In our forklift training program I advise that when the forklift operator comes across a pedestrian they need to bring the machine to a complete stop, make eye contact with them and signal the pedestrian to cross.
  • When in the vicinity of a moving forklift, the pedestrian should always keep there eyes on the machine and never make the  assumption that the operator see’s them.
  • Develop a hand signal system between operators and non operators, this will help increase communication and awareness. Site owners/supervisors should ensure  that all employees and visitors are shown this system of communication.
  • Every jobsite is different every new operator should be shown and trained to handle the various situations they will encounter.
  • Operators should ALWAYS stop, honk the horn and proceed cautiously at intersections and aisle openings.  
  • Operators should ALWAYS honk the horn and proceed with caution when driving around a blind corner.
  • Operators must always be able to see a clear travel path, if the load is blocking there forward vision they MUST travel in reverse.
  • If the operator does not have a clear travel path in forward or reverse than a spotter MUST be used.
  • Operators must travel at a speed that will allow a controlled stop at all times. Travelling and braking should be performed smoothly and in a controlled manner.


  • If possible have clearly marked walkways for pedestrians and marked safe zones, thus giving separate travel paths for forklifts and non operators.
  • Optimize visibility at your jobsite, and add some visual/audio indicators. If you have blind spots add mirrors to improve it. Add some signage to indicate the operation of equipment and other hazards as necessary. 


  • Equip your machine with safety accessories. There are various accessories you can add to for your jobsite applications. These can be back up alarms, flashing strobe lights , pedestrian safety blue spot lights and rear view mirrors.
  • Properly maintain and repair your equipment. You need your forklifts in proper running condition to prevent accidents and to avoid costly repairs.

Lastly lets take a look at the OHS and WCB regulations when it come to forklifts and pedestrians.

16.43 Pedestrian and equipment traffic

(1) Where practicable, designated walkways must be used to separate pedestrian traffic from areas of operation of mobile equipment.

(2) If it is impracticable to provide designated walkways, adequate safe work procedures to minimize the possibility of collision must be used in hazardous work areas, including

(a) the use of a traffic control system,

(b) enforcement of speed limits for mobile equipment,

(c) a requirement for the pedestrian and the mobile equipment operator to acknowledge each other’s presence before the pedestrian proceeds through the hazardous area, or

(d) other effective means.

(3) In areas where lift truck use is separated from pedestrian traffic, a lift truck may travel forward with an elevated load if such operation will improve the operator’s view of the path of travel, provided that operating conditions are maintained to ensure vehicle stability and the specifications of the equipment manufacturer are not compromised.

If you are a business or individual needing forklift training you have come to the right place.

For business’s we offer mobile onsite training. Our certified trainer will come to your job site to train your employees on your machines and in your work environment. Our onsite forklift training is available anywhere in the Vancouver, Tri-Cities, Ridge-Meadows and Fraser Valley areas. 

For individuals we offer offsite forklift training our indoor and heated training facility in Maple Ridge.

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