Forklifts, Q&A

Q&A: Pedestrian Travel Paths

Recently, one of our subscribers asked the following question:

For pedestrian safety, how wide does a designated protected employee travel path need to be? What type of stationary protective guards are acceptable to prevent forklifts from hitting pedestrians?

This was our answer:

There are 2 OSHA rules that apply to fork trucks and passageways.

Concerning travel paths and how wide they must be, OSHA’s rule for use of mechanical equipment at 29 CFR 1910.176 and working surfaces (passageways and aisles) at 29 CFR 1910.22 says, “Where mechanical handling equipment is used, sufficient safe clearances shall be allowed for aisles, at loading docks, through doorways, and wherever turns or passage must be made. Aisles and passageways shall be kept clear and in good repair, with no obstruction across or in aisles that could create a hazard. Permanent aisles and passageways shall be appropriately marked. Clearance signs to warn of clearance limits shall be provided.”

An OSHA letter of interpretation of the aisle marking rule at 29 CFR 1910.22(b) says, “The recommended width of aisles is at least 3 feet wider than the largest equipment to be utilized, or a minimum of 4 feet.”

Concerning the type of stationary protective guards that are acceptable and at what distance apart:

“OSHA does not provide guidance for travel lanes, but does have guidance for aisles. See the OSHA interpretation letter cited above, that says, “The recommended width of aisle markings varies from 2 inches to 6 inches; therefore, any width 2 inches or more is considered acceptable.”