Friday, October 23, 2015

Safety Solution, or just another trend?

Trendy or Safety?  We have experienced a huge uptick in interest and orders on the Blue Light safety device, which leads me to wonder if this is a safety "phase", or a real answer for workplace safety. When a device increases safety awareness and offers distracted pedestrians a warning of forklift traffic, it seems to be a positive solution.  We conduct customer demos of the lights, and the demos have resulted in immediate sales and installations.  Below is the ACT video of the blue light.
You will  notice references to specifications, and as I review the specifications, I wonder what will happen during an OSHA inspection.  Will there eventually be regulations on the warning time?  The unit comes with an adjustable bracket and mount, and offers a range of 10-30 feet. Who determines the proper distance, and therefore warning time, in the specific workplace?  What factors should be considered in mounting and setting the angle?  Once the angle and warning distance are set, is that something that needs to be periodically inspected for assurance that the warning distance is consistent?  If I have a fleet of 5 forklifts, am I required to have the device installed on all forklifts at the same time?
We have installed these safety devices multiple times and some customers have them set for both forward and reverse direction. If facing forward, should I have two forward facing lights, one on each side of the forklift to insure the load doesn't block pedestrian vision of the blue light? 
Historically, OSHA requires refresher training for operators to explain new safety equipment as well as pedestrian training so that everyone understands the new device and the effect on safety. I believe this is the case with the blue light as well.
As you can see, there are a lot of questions to be answered. However, the lights seem to be performing well and increasing pedestrian awareness of forklift traffic, so safety seems to be on the increase.  We talked to a OSHA Standards Office for the North Carolina Department of Labor. We were told the blue lights did not constitute a recognizable hazard, so OSHA would have no issue with the blue light. Additionally, this officer told us that adding the device was not a violation because it does not  affect capacity or operation of the forklift.
Hope your week was a safe one, with or without a blue light.


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