Colored forklift safety lights make workers more noticeable when working at night or in dark areas. Generally, these lights consist of a blue light mounted on the front or the rear (or both) to alert pedestrians, and a red light to provide a “no-go” zone either side of the forklift. Mounted on the top, flashing Strobe lights alert pedestrians. While not a light, having an operational horn is a mandatory OSHA requirement.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s powered industrial truck standard (1910.178) does not require red side lights, blue spotlights, or flashing strobe lights. Nevertheless, many businesses are adding them to improve safety outcomes.
Adding red, blue, and strobe safety lights not only improves workplace safety, but is a “cost-effective” type insurance against hefty penalties for non-compliance.
As of 2021, the minimum OSHA fine is $975 per violation, so it’s important to keep your business safe.
Gaining popularity are blue pedestrian safety lights that project light either in front or at the back of the forklift and in whatever direction you are heading. Mounted on the front or back of a forklift, these lights project a light beam up to 15 feet to warn pedestrians that a forklift is operating.
OSHA does not mandate blue safety lights, but they serve as a good precautionary measure to protect workers from potential accidents that may occur in low-light conditions.
Red zone safety lights provide an illuminated area either side of a forklift truck called the “no-go” or danger zone. The danger zone for pedestrians is clearly visible, whether the forklift is stopped or in motion.
Pedestrians will have no trouble understanding how far apart they need to stand from the lift truck. All they have to remember is: stay out of the danger zone.
Red zone lighting solutions are very easy to install, with installation typically taking less than 20 minutes. Red zone lighting complements the blue lights that project in front (or rear) of the forklift providing a more complete perimeter of safety.
While not OSHA mandated, red zone safety lighting is an essential precautionary tool when operating a forklift in low-light conditions or at night with pedestrians working around the truck.
Forklift strobe lights are a vital addition to a forklift. The strobe light mounted on the top of the mast makes the truck easily visible to other vehicles in low-light conditions.
The placement of the strobes is also crucial. You should never put strobe lights at eye level, since strong, flashing LED lights might severely impair someone’s vision.
Forklift strobe lights are particularly useful when traveling through blind spots, where there is no line-of-sight from another vehicle’s headlights or sun glare due to low sun light.
Forklift strobe lights also create an illuminated area around the vehicle making it easier for other vehicles to see in low-light conditions, especially when backing up or maneuvering near walls or corners of buildings.
Strobe lights are a supplement to the forklift’s primary lighting system – headlamps and tail lamps.
At the start of each shift, operators must ensure that safety lights on a forklift are functioning properly. Also, remember to include “inspect safety lights” to your forklift pre-shift checklist and instruct operators how to check and use the lights.
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