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One safety issue that confronts warehouse managers is preventing accidents between forklifts and pedestrian workers.
We have described some products here that rely on audio warning systems. Another method is to prevent accidents using visual warnings.
Keytroller, LLC, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, has developed a visual system that uses colored LED lights.
Called Forewarner, the system is designed to go on to forklifts and cranes and projects colored lights on to the floor to alert pedestrians that a forklift or crane is in the area.
When mounted on a forklift or other moving vehicle the Forewarner projects a solid blue or red tightly focused spot on the floor behind and/or in front of the vehicle. The light on the floor is visible to pedestrians and operators of other vehicles in the area and alerts them to the proximity of a forklift.
Forewarner is 5.5-inches in diameter and made of heavy-duty die-cast aluminum designed for tough outdoor weather conditions. It includes nine focused LEDs. The blue spotlight is 45 watts and the red spotlight is 27 watts. A battery or in-house electrical system of 12, 24, 36, or 48 volts can power the unit. This makes the product appropriate to use on all internal combustion and electric vehicles that feature up to 48-volt batteries. The mounting bracket is adjustable 150 degrees up or down allowing precise positioning of the light on the floor in front and/or behind the vehicle. LEDs are known to last longer than conventional light sources and will last for up to 50,000 hours.
Keytroller executives point out that on average about 80 forklift and material handling equipment workers are killed each year due to accidents between forklift operators and pedestrians. A visual warning system like Forewarner Maxi, which is designed for overhead cranes offer a number of benefits including:
· Reduce incidences of human error because pedestrians are more aware of moving loads.
· Pedestrian sees projected line or spot on floor and knows that a crane is nearby.
· It is very effective for overhead cranes working in areas with many pedestrians.
· Beeping audible alarms do not provide pedestrians with a sense of how close they are to the load.
· Operators don’t have to take their eyes off the crane block or load.
· A snap on lens cover turns spot into a line on the floor permitting the user to box in the hook.
· Workers are concentrating on their job and may not see the moving load.
· Crane operators are concentrating on the load and may not be aware that a pedestrian is close by.
Keytroller executives also note that more than 40 percent of all fatal forklift accidents involve pedestrians.
The Forewarner helps to reduce accidents in a number of ways.
· Pedestrians see the projected line or spot on the floor and know to stay outside of that perimeter.
· The product is very effective for forklifts working in areas with many pedestrians.
The Forewarner Sideliner improves safety on forklifts and includes green or red line on the floor, which helps pedestrians determine the distance of a forklift.
Keytroller executives warn that the Forewarner does not take the place of audible alarms, but do offer additional visual warning.