The ‘dead man’s switch’, or ‘dead man’s pedal’ is a standard safety feature on many forklifts, but it hasn’t seen much innovation over the years.
These switches appear on lots of different vehicles and machines, and are designed to stop the machine from operating if the driver isn’t in full control. In the case of a forklift, the dead man’s switch must be held down (usually with the foot) in order for the truck to operate. This makes sure that if the driver becomes incapacitated, isn’t in control of the truck, or even isn’t in it at all, it won’t be able to move.
It’s a smart and simple solution that has prevented countless accidents. But on trucks where the operator is standing, like some order pickers, it’s far from the perfect solution and can even introduce some new safety issues itself. Here’s why: