Pedestrian Walkway Safety

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Proper pedestrian walkways in a warehouse can drastically cut down on accidents.
Proper pedestrian walkways in a warehouse can drastically cut down on accidents. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Pedestrian walkways are designated areas in warehouses and factories intended for those on foot. They may lead to specific areas, fire exits or storage zones. The intent behind pedestrian walkways is safety, to keep people walking apart from those in forklift trucks and other vehicles and to reduce the incidence and possibility of accidents in the workplace. Pedestrian walkway safety is something which employers and those designing workplaces pay close attention.

Marking

Mark the pedestrian walkways well, and use colors familiar from the highways, which show up well under all lighting conditions. Paint the edges of the pedestrian walkways in bright yellow, so those using them know to stay inside those lines, and those outside know not to stray over. Mark exit zones, especially fire exits, with red areas on the floor. Make the walkways continuous, leading from one to another while still leaving vehicles room to maneuver; this will ensure that pedestrians never have to cross a vehicle lane to reach their destination.

Surfaces

Ensure that all pedestrian walkways are well-lit at all times, and that the surfaces are completely flat, with no cracks in the floor that someone could accidentally trip over. Clear away any debris or rubbish regularly, and clean up any spills that could lead to someone sliding and falling; this should be done as soon as the spillage occurs, with signs indicating the wet areas. Keep the paint in good condition and repaint as soon as it begins to fade or chip to keep the lines demarcating different areas very clear. Fasten all cables to the floor securely and away from the walkways areas.

Railings

Install railings to separate pedestrian walkways from vehicle areas that abut them; this increases safety for pedestrians by creating a physical barrier to prevent vehicles encroaching on the walkway and cuts down on the potential for accidents. Put handrails on all stairs and sloping walkways to stop people tripping as they walk and to offer an extra grip for safety.

Inspection And Training

Inspect the pedestrian walkways and surrounding areas on a regular basis to ensure that the markings are clear and that there are no obstructions; this should be done by the safety office as part of a planned safety program. Train staff in the way to use pedestrian walkways as part of their orientation in the workplace, and have annual refresher courses; although it might seem like common sense, reminders can cut down on accidents. Monitor where forklifts travel, and be certain they’re avoiding the walkways.

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