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 or DC. Here are some recent examples that are now on the market.
Proximity warning and impact monitoring
Siera.AI’s S3 forklift proximity warning and impact-monitoring system continuously monitors in a single direction or all four ways around a moving vehicle. If a pedestrian or object comes within a predefined path and distance, the system will sound an audible alarm and provide visual cues to the operator in sufficient time to prevent an impact. The system also monitors forklift impacts, automatically measuring and recording impacts and creating separate reports for each incident.
Siera.AI also offers optional automatic speed control, which can be adjusted as the truck approaches predefined distances indicated in green, yellow, and red. According to the company, the automated slowdown feature’s response time is one to two seconds faster than the average human response time. S3 also provides live asset, safety, and productivity monitoring reports via a consolidated dashboard.
S3 includes an electronic touchscreen mounted directly on the truck. The touchscreen allows operators to sign in with a badge and complete the mandated safety checklist at the start of a shift. S3 uses artificial intelligence and machine vision, together with industrial-grade sensors and wireless communication—either Wi-Fi or 4G/5G cellular. (Siera.AI)
Backup sensors with collision alerts
SICK’s Backup Assistance System (BAS) gives drivers greater visibility when operating a forklift in reverse, with forks trailing. The driver assistance system is an active-awareness collision-alert system that provides real-time feedback to the driver. According to the manufacturer, BAS differs from other collision-avoidance systems on the market because it alerts operators only when a stationary or moving obstruction actually appears in the forklift’s path and does not depend on pedestrians’ wearable tags, reflective clothing or devices, or “always on” alerts.
This standalone aftermarket solution offers flexible configuration options and has a high level of immunity to ambient light, while intelligent algorithms reduce false alarms. Its low power consumption of 3W minimizes drain on the battery. The device is designed for a wide range of temperatures, making it ideal for cold storage environments, the manufacturer says.
The audible alarm is a buzzer up to 95 decibels. Visual warning lights are optional. (SICK)
Sensor forks with camera
Cascade Corp. says its sensor forks offer lift-truck operators the visibility and precision they need to achieve maximum efficiency and reduce damage to product and pallets. A camera, distance sensor, and vertical-object detection sensor allow operators to see exactly where the fork meets the load.
The forks are available in a variety of lengths, making them suitable for many applications. They come equipped with a rechargeable battery pack with a 12-hour battery life. Fleets can use more than 25 units at a single site with no “cross-talk” concerns, according to the manufacturer. The forks are easy to install too, and because communication is wireless, there are no over-the-mast cables required. A low-profile model is available for flexible installation.
The high-resolution digital camera provides clear real-time images in normal and low-light environments. Images appear on a touchscreen display that includes a user-adjustable horizontal target line, fork-angle measurement indicator, and multiple display languages. (Cascade Corp.)
Three ways to enhance pedestrian safety
Elokon, a provider of lift-truck anti-collision and fleet-management technology, now offers several enhancements to its proximity-detection system, ELOshield. Within the past year, the company has announced new products and features designed to help protect pedestrians working near forklifts.
For instance, Elokon now offers two versions of its ELOshield pedestrian modules. The devices communicate by radio with the ELOshield modules fitted to industrial vehicles, emitting acoustic, haptic, and flashing warnings when the wearer enters a danger zone. Both modules are lightweight; the smaller, one-shift module will work for around 12 hours, and the slightly larger, two-shift version has a capacity of around 20 hours. The new modules are freely configurable, can be combined with each other, and can be set up for different groups of people, such as warehouse staff or visitors.
Elokon has also introduced its first commercially available wearable, a “smart” safety vest that enhances safety for employees when working in the vicinity of forklifts, AGVs (automated guided vehicles), and cobots. This connected piece of workwear incorporates all of the functions of ELOshield’s pedestrian modules. It sends out visual, acoustic, and haptic warning signals to the wearer as soon as they enter a designated danger zone, preventing any risk of collisions. According to the manufacturer, the ISO-certified high-visibility vest is comfortable to wear and does not hamper mobility. It is made of lightweight soft-shell material and comes in a range of sizes.
Finally, the company has launched ELOshieldSPEED, an automatic system for reducing the speed of industrial vehicles across extensive areas of the warehouse. With the ELOshieldSPEED functionality, fleet and facility managers can control forklift speeds in individual danger zones, such as travel lanes and storage aisles with specific entrances and exits. Vehicles entering the predefined zones are automatically slowed down to the designated speed, and their original speed is automatically resumed once they exit the zone. No intervention by the driver is required. (Elokon)
Safety tape prevents slips
Wooster Products’ die-cut Flex-Tred anti-slip tapes are designed to enhance safety in material handling environments by providing a higher coefficient of friction on the applied surface, whether it’s wet or dry. Available in standard die-cut sizes or in custom die cuts to suit specific requirements, this heavy-duty safety surface is easy to install and enhances pedestrian safety on slippery surfaces, according to the manufacturer.
Suitable for application on forklifts, cherry pickers, platforms, scaffolds, and ladders, die-cut Flex-Tred has a useful temperature range of -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. (Wooster Products, www.woosterproducts.com)
Industrial walkway adhesive tape
Graphic Products has unveiled PathFinder Crosswalks, premade walkway bundles designed to increase efficiency by protecting pedestrians from forklift traffic. Made with industrial-grade adhesive and vinyl materials, PathFinder Crosswalk bundles come in lengths of between six and 14 feet to create highly visible lines that separate traffic types.
Facilities can improve pedestrian awareness with any of the three product combinations: Basic, which comes with a red “Proceed with Caution” boundary tape and individual 36-inch yellow adhesive crosswalk marking strips; Premium, which comes with a red “Proceed with Caution” boundary tape, individual 36-inch yellow adhesive crosswalk marking strips, and two “Caution Forklift Traffic” floor signs to notify pedestrians of forklift hazards; or Deluxe, which comes with a red “Proceed with Caution” boundary tape, individual 36-inch yellow adhesive crosswalk marking strips, two “Caution Forklift Traffic” floor signs, packs of red floor tape dashes, and “Stop” floor signs to instruct forklift operators to stop before reaching the crosswalk. (Graphic Products, graphicproducts.com)
A-Safe Inc., a manufacturer of protective guarding for warehouses, DCs, and manufacturing facilities, has launched TrailerKerb, a temporary barrier (or kerb) that provides resistance when forklift trucks get close to the edge of flatbed trailers during loading and unloading operations at the dock.
A single section of TrailerKerb weighs just 22 pounds and measures 5 feet, 10 inches in length. The sections are usually supplied in sets of 12. In a typical application, all 12 pieces are installed from aboard the trailer; then, as the load is moved back, two pieces of the TrailerKerb are removed at a time. The process can be repeated in reverse if a flatbed is to be unloaded at a dock. (A-Safe Inc., www.asafe.com/en-us/)