Suitable Clothing For Forklift Protection Around The Warehouse
Safety around the workplace is absolutely crucial in today’s warehousing standards. While we have already written a blog on the top 10 forklift safety tips, we have yet too specifically dive into what sort of clothing you can wear to make sure you are protected from all types of hazards while operating or in contact with forklifts. As such, this article will:
- List the types of clothing for forklift protection
- Discuss why correct clothing is important
- Discuss a final pointer
Types Of Clothing For Forklift Protection And Their Uses
Depending on your specific working conditions, the clothing you need to wear may differ from business to business. Below is a general list of the types of clothing you may be required to wear when operating in and around forklift trucks which mainly fall under the umbrella term of forklift PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
Hard Hat –
Hard hats are solely designed to protect your head, neck and eyes against falling objects, impacts, bumps, scrapes, and electrical exposures. Wearing a hard hat is a mandatory requirement set forth by the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992 which requires employers to provide workers and visitors with hard hats and ensure that they wear them. Below are also some interesting facts about head injuries:
- There were 348,453 UK admissions to hospital with acquired brain injury in 2016-17.
- 20% of all injuries whether fatal and non-fatal in the UK since 2013 are head related.
- Head protection accounts for only 3% of PPE purchases, yet accounts for over 20% of injuries.
Safety Goggles –
Safety goggles are incorporated with forklift protection and forklift PPE practices as they protect your eyes from flying debris, dust and hazardous liquids that could damage your vision. According to Manchester NHS foundation trust:
- 90% of all eye injuries could have been prevented
- Three out of every five workers injured were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident
- Surveys show that 94% of eye injuries occur from objects or chemicals going around or under the eye protection
For these reasons alone, safety goggles should be incorporated at all times and should never be neglected.
Gloves are another piece of equipment that helps with overall forklift protection. Their main purpose is to provide your hands with a safety layer against exposure to chemicals, bodily fluids and discharges just to name a few. In addition, there could be a lot of bacteria and germs accumulating on the wheel of the forklift so wearing protective gloves can help minimise passing germs on to one another.
High Visibility Jackets –
High visibility jackets (or Hi-Vis for short) are worn around the warehouse to increase a person’s visibility and therefore prevent accidents caused by employees not being seen. It is one of the most common, staple pieces of forklift protection clothing. The way they work is by the sun’s UV rays reacting with the fluorescent colours to make them glow during day time hours. At night, light from sources such as forklift headlights bounce off the reflective areas to make the tape glow which results in greater visibility of the person wearing the Hi-Vis jacket.
Earplug / Earmuffs –
Earplugs / earmuffs help protect workers’ hearing in loud workplaces. When operating a diesel powered forklift, they can be prone to creating loud noises. For this reason, employers enforce forklift drivers to wear earmuffs to maximise overall forklift protection safety procedures and to make sure their workers are not distracted or potentially harmed by the loud noises that are produced during warehouse and transport operations.
Why Correct Clothing Is Important
Now that we have listed some of the staple items of clothing for forklift drivers, we are now going to discuss why correct clothing is important.
Forklift trucks are used in a variety of different warehouse environments. Tight spaces, narrow aisles, high-stacked shelves and pedestrian workers are all common scenarios in warehouses. By ensuring you are wearing the correct protective clothing, you are maximising your safety so that no major catastrophes occur.
Though It may not be a common occurrence, with tight corners and narrow aisles to maneuver around, it can be easy to bump or knock into shelving units. This is why forklift ppe like hard hats and gloves are imperative around the workplace. You can never know what type of object is knocked off racking. For example, if the object knocked off is sharp and you are not wearing any forklift safety protection, the injury could be fatal. If it is hazardous, wearing goggles or gloves can help against harmful and poisonous substances. Similarly with Hi-vis jackets, the driver will be able to see you in darkened areas and reduce the risk of you getting run over.
A final point to consider when discussing forklift protection is the size and fit of protective clothing. A forklift truck operator’s role requires getting in and out of their vehicle regularly, so clothes must be comfortable and practical. Clothes that are too loose are likely to get caught on objects in and around the environment and could cause the operator to fall or hurt themselves. Clothes too tight can add real discomfort to the forklift driver and in some cases, forklift drivers may disregard the protective equipment as a whole due to the discomfort. For this reason, it is important to make sure forklift clothing fits you and if not, speak to your employer as soon as possible.