Australian Forklift Training share their views on the question of who has right of way when it comes to forklifts. Pedestrians always have right of way over forklifts. Forklift companies should allocate set walkways and systems to teach pedestrians where they should and should not walk.
Visitors, contractors and staff should be given clear areas to walk in. Pedestrians have right of way even when they are walking in an area that is marked as do not enter. As a result, forklift operators must clearly look out for pedestrians at all times.
It is the responsibility of forklift operators to ‘look in the direction of travel and keep a clear view along the path of travel’. The forklift operators cannot reverse without looking behind them just because there should not be pedestrians around. It is their responsibility to look over both shoulders before reversing every single time.
When a pedestrian is hit, forklift operators are only not at fault when they can prove that they have looked in the direction of travel and took the necessary precautions to check for pedestrians.
If they hit someone simply because they did not look, then they themselves are at fault irrespective of what area they are in. At the same time, pedestrians seen walking in out of bounds areas should be reported and reprimanded.
On the question of forklifts giving way to other forklifts, Australian Forklift Training note that when a forklift is stopped, it should give right of way to other machines already moving (unless company policy is to give certain machines right of way, ie: smaller machines give right of way to larger ones).
Forklift companies are advised to adopt and implement their own procedures for giving right of way to cars and trucks on their worksite. Most forklift companies give forklifts right of way in the workplace, considering forklifts are not designed to be as maneuverable in emergency situations as cars.