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But forklift horns and alarms are designed to be distracting. Their purpose is to get people’s attention so that they don’t put themselves in danger by entering into the path of a moving forklift.
So while forklift horns and alarms are unpleasant, they serve a bigger purpose.
When to Use Your Horn
Usually, the horn on a forklift is located in the center of the steering wheel. It can be either a single button or a larger pad that, when pushed, causes the horn to blare loudly.
It’s always a good idea to test a forklift’s horn at the beginning of every shift. You don’t want to find out that the horn doesn’t work when you actually need to use it to warn somebody of your presence!
Depending on the individual business’s policies, horns are usually used when forklifts are approaching blind corners, when they are coming up pedestrians who may not see the vehicle, and — if the forklift doesn’t already have a backup alarm — when it is backing up.
No Such Thing as Too Much Safety
Granted, some forklift operators can often have a heavy hand when it comes to using the horn on their vehicle. But, really, you can never be too safe when operating a forklift.
These durable, heavy-duty materials handling vehicles can weigh thousands of pounds and usually are made out of reinforced steel. They also can’t always stop on a dime.
So if a forklift operator tends to blow the horn on his vehicle a little too often, he or she probably is erring on the side of caution.
Broken Horns and Backup Alarms
If the horn or backup alarm on your forklift isn’t working, it’s a good idea to get it fixed or replace it as quickly as possible.
If an accident should occur in which an employee was injured or killed, if investigators determine that the forklift’s safety equipment wasn’t working properly, the business owner could be face both civil and criminal prosecution — especially if they knew about the faulty equipment and didn’t do anything about it.
Horns and alarms are annoying, for sure. But they play a valuable role in the safety of your business by helping protect drivers and pedestrians throughout the property.