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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Forklift Blind Spots Are Unforgiving

Forklift blind spots are everywhere. Forward, back, left and right. Hear how to avoid collisions and injuries when hauling large loads or driving backward.

Sometimes powered industrial trucks, a.k.a. forklifts, have more blind spots than areas of clear vision. A full load can completely block the forward view. Parts of the forklift itself are culprits in obscuring the operator’s view.

In this podcast Dan Clark lists best practices for drivers and pedestrians around forklifts, including education of all staff, facility planning, and preparation for changing conditions.

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Dan Clark: Vehicles have blind spots. Forklifts REALLY have blind spots. Those blind spots can lead to collisions with pedestrians and stationary objects. We’ll poke through the major forklift blind spots and how to handle them next.

Hi, I’m Dan Clark with The Safety Brief. We tackle health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites a big service of Creative Safety Supply. Don’t forget, you can save 10 percent off your entire order at with coupon code BIG10.

Workplaces should take a number of steps to reduce the hazards of forklift blind spots. But pedestrians also need to be aware that forklift drivers often can’t see.


• Cables, chains and bars clutter the visual field in front of the mast and fork carriage.

• Overhead guard supports cover parts of the line-of-sight to the front and rear.

• The load itself can partially or totally obscure the front view.


• Drivers carrying large loads often drive in reverse.

• They have to continually crane their neck to see where they’re going.

• This is uncomfortable and people and things can’t be easily seen.


1. Education. Everyone, not just drivers, needs to be aware of what drivers can typically see and not see.

2. Facility Planning. Don’t position walkways or places where people stand near forklift routes.

3. Technology. Install mirrors, motion sensors and/or cameras to help drivers see better. These can also help pedestrians be warned of oncoming danger.

4. Procedures. Have pedestrians approach forklifts slowly and make eye contact with drivers before getting too close. Have drivers honk the horn before backing up and proceed slowly. If a load is especially difficult to maneuver, have a second person be a second set of eyeballs for the driver.

5. Be Ready For Varying Conditions. Lighting, weather and other changing things can impact visibility, making blind spots even more difficult to navigate. Drivers should use extra caution, i.e. slow down, when conditions change.

That’s all for this episode, Forklift Blind Spots Are Unforgiving. Join me again for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s always-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply.


Worker with boxes image ©2014 Creative Safety Supply / Thom Cheney. Illustration is property of Creative Safety Supply, LLC, 7737 SW Cirrus Dr., Beaverton, Oregon 97008; Forklift image 2013 by U.S. Navy / Katarzyna Kobiljak

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