May 4, 2018

Spotlight on forklift safety products

Spotlight on forklift safety products

These new products are designed to enhance the safety of forklift operators and pedestrians wherever lift trucks are in use.

By DC Velocity Staff

When it comes to forklift safety, good operator training will always be Number One. But a variety of lift truck accessories, devices, and technology products can also help you enhance safety for forklift operators and pedestrians in your warehouse. Here are some recent examples that are now on the market.


ELOshield, a forklift anti-collision system, made its U.S. debut at the Modex 2018 show in Atlanta. ELOshield was developed by Elokon, a European provider of lift truck safety technology.

ELOshield is a UHF (ultra-high-frequency)-based warning system that helps prevent industrial truck accidents (both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-person). A fixed-site version monitors accident-prone areas, such as high-traffic aisle intersections. A mobile version monitors zones of up to 50 feet around moving vehicles. These zones can be programmed, by vehicle, as circles, symmetrical rectangles, or asymmetrical polygons. Two zones, representing "warning" and "danger" risks, can trigger different system reactions.

When trucks get too close to each other or pedestrians, the truck-mounted display sends an audible and/or visual alert, automatically slows the truck down to "creep speed," and, if desired, stops the truck. If pedestrians come too close to a truck, their tags vibrate and sound an alarm.

This advanced driver-assistance system includes ID tags for industrial trucks, pedestrians, and fixed locations (like racking or doorways), as well as operator displays for each vehicle and a charging system for the pedestrian tags. (Elokon,


TVH in the Americas (TVH), a supplier of replacement parts for material handling and industrial equipment, has added new dual-color strobes to its ML2 LED, ML5 LED, and ML55 LED series forklift safety lights. These strobes come in four different color combinations: amber/blue, amber/clear, amber/red, and blue/red. The dual-color option is ideal for alerting other workers of a forklift's action, the company says. If the forklift is moving, the strobe will flash one color. When the forklift is stopped and the forks are lifting, the strobe will flash the other color, indicating that the forklift is in use and not just parked.

Each strobe series is rated 12-80VDC. All of the units have six LEDs per head (three of each color) and come with a two-year warranty. (TVH in the Americas,


The Backbone from Lakeport Metalcraft Inc. is a vertical metal bar designed to prevent serious and potentially fatal injuries to operators of reach trucks and standup forklifts caused by horizontal objects intruding into the operator's compartment. According to the device's manufacturer, most of these accidents occur during rearward collisions with racking—for example, when a horizontal rack beam penetrates the operator compartment.

The Backbone is easy to install and attaches in minutes, according to the manufacturer. It also complies with the ANSI B56.1 safety standard for lift trucks and meets the requirement to withstand the impact of a fully loaded truck traveling 1.6 km/h, or approximately 1 mph. (Lakeport Metalcraft Inc.,


When used in concert with its Dok-Lok vehicle restraint system, Rite-Hite's Corner-Vu, Leveler-Vu, Pedestrian-Vu, and new Approach-Vu warning systems make forklift operators and pedestrians aware of lift truck activity in and around loading and receiving docks as well as inside truck trailers, improving safety for everyone.

Corner-Vu lights (see photo) are located on the upper corners of the interior dock door, without obstructing the forklift driver's view. A green light means the trailer is safely secured to the loading dock with a Dok-Lok restraint, while a red light indicates the trailer is not secured and is unsafe to enter. Corner-Vu lights also serve as a reference point for the overhead door opening.

Leveler-Vu helps prevent accidents by conveying Dok-Lok status to the forklift operator while he or she is inside the trailer. A green light means the trailer is safely secured to the loading dock with a Dok-Lok restraint. A red light indicates the trailer is not secured. The lights also serve as a reference point of the leveler location for the lift truck operator when backing out of the trailer. Leveler-Vu lights mount into the back of the leveler in the standard weather-seal channel and are positioned below the surface of the leveler, preventing direct contact with forklifts.

Pedestrian-Vu communicates to pedestrians and material handling equipment operators on the dock that there is activity inside a trailer. Motion sensors are located on each side of the dock door and are aimed inside the trailer; an intense flashing blue light is emitted onto the dock leveler when motion is detected inside the trailer. Pedestrian-Vu also works in conjunction with Dok-Lok to alert any dockworker or forklift that enters an unsecured trailer. The blue light flickers as an audible alarm alerts the worker that he or she has entered an unsecured trailer, while the external light system simultaneously changes to red, warning the truck driver that there is activity inside the trailer.

Outside the dock opening, from a fixed location above the dock door, the Approach-Vu sensor detects the motion of a tractor-trailer backing into a dock position. A visual and audible alarm located on the Dok-Lok vehicle restraint alerts dock workers and pedestrians of the impending danger. According to the manufacturer, this multisensory alert system is important because ambient noise often masks the sound of a cab's engine, which can be 70 feet or more from the back of the trailer. (Rite-Hite,


Industrial lighting expert Larson Electronics LLC has released the EXHL-TRN-RPS-LE4-FKWL-BLU-M, a new 25-watt rechargeable blue LED forklift warning light. The unit produces 2,250 lumens of intense blue light that is visible both during the day and at night to indicate the forklift's pathway, warning pedestrians of ongoing forklift operation.

The explosion-proof light operates on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with eight hours of runtime. An unbreakable polycarbonate lens covers the light. The unit's housing, constructed of extruded aluminum, is waterproof to three meters and is resistant to dust, dirt, and humidity. The light can operate in temperatures of minus 40 degrees C to 60 degrees C (minus 40 degrees F to 140 degrees F), and is resistant to shock and vibration. An adjustable magnetic mount allows operators to control the tilt and rotation of the LED. (Larson Electronics LLC,


According to Panacea Aftermarket Co., its exclusive patent-pending LED forklift arc safety light is the world's first. When used in conjunction with the company's red zone forklift safety lights, the light provides 75 times the coverage of standard blue forklift lights, the company says.

The safety light projects a wide, brightly colored line around the front, back, and sides of the truck, with forward and rear projection of eight to 12 feet. It is available in 12 to 80 volts and three colors: red, blue, and green. With an IP67-rated aluminum housing, the arc light comes with a lifetime warranty. (Panacea Aftermarket Co.,

SumoSafe forks

Australia-based SumoSafe Global says it offers a range of "ingeniously simple yet highly innovative" products that significantly reduce damage to palletized loads, making forklift trucks safer to operate.

The SumoSafe lineup includes:

  • SumoSafeforks—a radical new design of lift truck fork that takes traditional steel tines and encases the tips within a protective glove. Made from industrial-grade polyurethane, the glove limits the impact of a carelessly driven lift truck's forks against a load.
  • SumoGloves—a variation on the SumoSafefork. SumoGloves are quickly and easily fitted to the tips of a lift truck's existing forks. They are compatible with all common makes and sizes of forklift tines.
  • SumoVision—a system that improves an operator's forward visibility even when sightlines are obscured by a large bulky load.
  • SumoLevel—a new forklift mast-tilt indicator system that reduces accidental damage to pallets, loads, and racking caused by a lift truck's forks during pallet picking and putaway.
  • SumoBackbone—a protective device that can be retrofitted to any lift truck make or model to minimize the risk of an operator's suffering a spine or whiplash injury from reversing into a stationary object or being hit from the rear by another forklift. (SumoSafe Global,

Sensor solutions provider Sick's backup assistance system (BAS) is a stand-alone aftermarket solution that actively alerts the operator to unseen obstructions behind the forklift, which contributes to a reduction in accidents.

Using the manufacturer's compact, advanced laser measurement scanner, the backup assistance system gives real-time feedback to the driver via an audible warning only when the truck is too close to any stationary or moving object. This intelligent system, which was designed specifically for forklifts, can be connected to the reverse-drive function of the vehicle to eliminate false alarms. Kits are available for different-voltage trucks and electrical systems, the company says. (Sick Inc.,


Modjoul Inc.'s SmartBelt improves safety by tracking forklift drivers' actions and identifying risky behaviors that could lead to safety incidents. The wearable SmartBelt uses sensors and a geographic positioning system (GPS) to gather data about location, motion, and environment, giving companies information that can help them understand behaviors and activities that lead to injuries, the manufacturer says.

Data are collected based on counts, duration, and rate of the employee's activities, including walking, sitting, falling, driving, bending, and tripping. The SmartBelt transmits the data to the cloud via Wi-Fi, and the information is reported in three customizable dashboard views: CEO, Supervisor, and Employee. The dashboard reports allow the viewer to see an overview and ranking of an employee's safety as well as to look at specific events and track an employee's location. The software allows the owner to go back in time to review the data leading up to and following an incident.

Available in sizes from 30 to 44 inches, the SmartBelt uses vibrations to send alerts from a supervisor to the wearer. If the wearer encounters a problem, an alert button located on the bottom of the SmartBelt buckle can be used to notify a supervisor via Wi-Fi and the Modjoul mobile app. The SmartBelt has a battery life of up to 12 hours; charging at the end of every shift is recommended. (Modjoul Inc.,

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