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Prevent Accidents and Reduce Maintenance Costs with Impact Protection

In many companies, collisions happen regularly. With luck, there are only a few scratches on the paint – in the worst case, however, it can lead to serious personal injuries. Therefore, collisions and impacts should not be taken lightly as a cause of accidents. Impact protection and barrier systems are a simple and intelligent way to avoid accidents and damage in daily operations. We highlight the advantages of collision protection products and discuss the legal requirements you should know to stay compliant.


Preventing Workplace Accidents and Personal Injuries

Let's face it – in everyday business operations, there is often high time pressure, especially when it comes to intra-company transport and loading and unloading tasks. It becomes dangerous when personal accidents come into play. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that forklift operation injures around 95,000 people annually. This accounts for most accidents in intra-company transport involving these types of equipment. In forklift accidents, victims commonly experience being struck, crushed, or run over. However, even the impact on an unsecured rack can lead to collapse and personal injuries in the worst case. Here, barrier and bumper protection systems are simple yet effective measures for enhanced safety in daily business operations. They take on functions such as...

  • Separation of Traffic and Work Areas
  • Regulation of Intra-Company Traffic
  • Demarcation of Traffic Routes from Other Areas (e.g., Storage Areas)
  • Securing Storage Facilities
  • Keeping Thoroughfares Clear
  • Blocking off Hazard Zones, Construction Sites, and Temporary Obstacles

Avoid Unplanned Downtime and Repair Costs.

Barriers and bumper protection systems benefit personal safety and are crucial in preventive maintenance to avoid damaging machinery and equipment. The right bumper or collision protection effectively helps reduce downtime and repair costs. Replacing damaged bumper protection is more manageable and cost-effective than repairing a production facility.

Ensure Insurance Coverage

The installation of collision protection systems can have a positive impact on your insurance coverage or may even be a prerequisite for it. Discuss this with your property insurer. Moreover, you might also be legally obligated to ensure sufficient collision protection and barriers. Learn more about this in the following section.

What laws and guidelines need to be considered?

A crucial aspect of discussing collision protection and barriers revolves around risk assessment. In a business context, the employer bears sole responsibility for the tools and equipment used in the workplace. OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.132 requires employers to assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present or are likely to be present. OSHA regulations require employers to protect employees from workplace hazards such as machines, work procedures, and hazardous substances that can cause injury.

Employers must institute all feasible engineering and work practice controls to eliminate and reduce hazards before using PPE to protect against hazards. If You can physically change the machine or work environment to prevent employee exposure to the potential risk, Then you have eliminated the hazard with engineering control.

Refer to OSHA's guide for more workplace safety and occupational health information.

The Risk Assessment as the Basis for Your Impact Protection Measures

Risk assessment is your primary decision-making basis for installing impact protection and barrier systems. If you identify relevant risks for your employees during your risk assessment, consider impact protection and barriers as part of your action planning. Importantly, take action before anything happens! In the event of damage, you must demonstrate to your insurance or the employers' liability insurance association that you have acted appropriately. By conducting the risk assessment and implementing the occupational safety measures specified therein, you also significantly contribute to liability prevention.

Special Consideration for Work Environment

An individual who can identify potential hazards that pose risks to workers should conduct regular workplace safety inspections. These hazards encompass obstacles in aisles, blind corners, and intersections, as well as the proximity of forklifts to pedestrians. The inspector should be authorized to implement corrective measures promptly.

Additionally, it is advisable to position workstations, control panels, and equipment away from aisles whenever possible, avoiding the storage of bins or materials at corners that obstruct visibility. Strict adherence to safe driving practices, including obeying speed limits, stopping at signs, and using caution at intersections, is crucial. Lastly, maintenance efforts should focus on repairing cracks, crumbling edges, and defects on loading docks, aisles, and other operational surfaces to ensure a safe working environment.

The following should also be noted:

  • OSHA requires that permanent aisles and passageways be free from obstructions and appropriately marked where mechanical handling equipment is used (29 CFR 1910.176(a))

  • The OSHA standard states that unauthorized personnel are prohibited from riding on a forklift. If riders are authorized, a safe place must be provided. (29 CFR 1910.178(m)(3))

  • The employer shall ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in this paragraph (1910.178(l)(1)(i))


According to OSHA standard 1910.178(c)(2)(iv), Approved power-operated industrial trucks may be used in areas where hazardous liquids or compressed gases are stored in sealed containers. This applies to locations where flammable materials might become hazardous only in the event of an accident or unusual operating conditions. Factors such as the potential quantity of hazardous material released, the effectiveness of ventilation systems, the overall area, and the industry's history of accidents or fires should be considered when determining the suitability of designated trucks for the location. Piping without specific safety devices is generally not regarded as hazardous, even for hazardous liquids or gases. Storage locations for hazardous liquids or compressed gases in sealed containers are not automatically deemed dangerous unless other risky conditions exist.

Special Requirements for Labelling

Red-white or yellow-black? Barriers and impact protection systems usually have one of these well-known color variants. But when is which one used?

According to OSHA regulations under standard 1910.144(a)(1), the color red is designated for specific safety purposes. It is the primary color for identifying fire protection equipment, apparatus, and danger-related elements. Safety cans or portable containers for flammable liquids with a flash point at or below 80 °F and specific hazardous machines' emergency stop bars and buttons must be painted red. Additionally, barricade lights and danger signs should be in red. On the other hand, the color yellow is designated for caution and marking physical hazards related to actions such as striking against, stumbling, falling, tripping, and "caught in between." Understanding and adhering to these color codes is crucial for maintaining a safe work environment in accordance with OSHA standards.

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