The Industrial Truck Association (ITA) held its fifth annual National Forklift Safety Day today. The event serves as an opportunity for forklift manufacturers to highlight the safe use of forklifts, the value of operator training, and the need for daily equipment checks.
“National Forklift Safety Day emphasizes the importance of forklift operator and pedestrian safety and best practices,” says Scott Johnson, vice president of marketing and sales for CLARK Material Handling Company and chairman of ITA. “Working together, stakeholders, from manufacturers and dealers to employers and safety officials, will help lead to a continued decline in accident rates.”
This year’s speakers, along with elected officials and industry representatives, discussed the effectiveness of training to support successful safety programs across a broad spectrum of industries. The event raises awareness on the value of safety to those who produce, operate, and work on or around forklifts.
“ITA’s National Forklift Safety Day has become a yearly event to educate customers, policymakers and the administration on forklift operating safety practices,” says Brian Feehan, president of ITA. “Not only are we holding important sessions on worker safety in Washington, D.C., we encourage ITA members throughout the country to participate at their locations as well.”
As part of National Forklift Safety Day, many ITA members and their dealers are sponsoring forklift safety events for their customers, which includes free safety consultations, distributing safety materials, operator training and hosting open houses.
Furthering its mission to raise awareness and improve safety, ITA has continued its alliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide Compliance Officer Training Seminars to OSHA inspectors across the country. ITA has presented the seminar to more than 600 OSHA personnel and covered all of OSHA’s 12 regions. OSHA estimates that about 70% of forklift accidents in the U.S. could be prevented with proper training.
Following are some of the events taking place today and throughout the month of June.
Wisconsin Lift Truck and Illinois Material Handling Introduce VR Simulators
Wisconsin Lift Truck and Illinois Material Handing, members of the Wolter Group and providers of certified forklift training, have expanded their safety training portfolio to include virtual reality simulators for purchase or rent, to incorporate into customer training curriculums. Forklift operators experience realistic forklift controls, maneuverability and the challenges of moving product(s) and pallets all in a controlled environment with the use of VR goggles.
With today’s limited workforce talent, companies must be ready to bring workers onboard whom are new to the industry. To get them up to speed quickly, VR forklift simulators enhance the learning experience of first time operators, while aiding in correcting the bad habits of seasoned operators.
“Our customers find it most important to be able to educate forklift operators while in a hazard-free environment, and allow as much practice as needed before getting behind the wheel of the real thing. Not only is it a safer solution, virtual reality forklift training is multi-sensory, proving to increase retention while minimizing the time required to train.” says Tony Parsons, operator training manager of Wolter Group LLC.
Illinois Material Handling will be hosting the company’s first VR forklift simulator demo on June 12 in honor of National Forklift Safety Day. This event will begin with an introduction to the Forklift Simulator, followed by a live demo and the opportunity for attendees to try the simulator for themselves.
Photo Contest Encourages Forklift Safety
In conjunction with National Forklift Safety Day, the Propane Education & Research Council has launched a forklift safety photo contest, which asks facility managers and their employees to submit photos that show how they are raising the standard for forklift safety on the job. According to OSHA, 70% of all forklift accidents could be avoided with proper training and policy. The photo contest aims to spread awareness of those safety practices.
“Facility operations managers mean business when it comes to safety and now it’s time for them to prove it,” says Jeremy Wishart, director of off-road business development for PERC. “As part of National Forklift Safety Day, we want to do our part at PERC to highlight forklift safety, and a photo contest is a fun way to get everyone involved in the message.”
The contest will run until July 13. Each participant who submits a photo of how they safely operate their propane forklift will receive a free safety poster for their facility and will be entered to win a catered lunch and T-shirts for their entire facility staff, courtesy of PERC.
MCFA Encourages Operators to Receive Proper Forklift Certification
Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc. (MCFA), a manufacturer of forklifts under the Cat lift trucks, Mitsubishi forklift trucks and Jungheinrich brands, is encouraging forklift safety and operator training through its campaign “Engaged in Safety.” The campaign reinforces the message that forklift certification helps ensure that forklift operators are properly trained and aware of the risks and dangers associated with operating a forklift in their environment.
“National Forklift Safety Day is an important day in our industry but safety is an everyday priority at MCFA,” says Ken Barina, president of MCFA. “Our goal is to help ensure 100% safety within our workspace and among our customers. This year, we’re teaming up with our dealers and the Industrial Truck Association to further drive home the importance of proper forklift training and certification. We strongly encourage forklift operators to be aware of the best programs and resources to help implement safety and reduce forklift-related accidents.”
To help raise awareness for proper forklift certification, MCFA has also released a new Forklift Certification Guide and provides dealer-led Forklift Safety Training and Certification Programs year-round. The certification program properly trains operators based on the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) regulations to help improve operator efficiency, reduce accidents and lift truck downtime. Training is available through local MCFA forklift dealers across North, Central and South America.
Crown Equipment Launches Educational Campaign on Forklift Safety
Crown Equipment is using National Forklift Safety Day to kick off an ongoing educational campaign designed to raise awareness of important forklift safety topics.
The campaign is built around the availability of new safety resources and content on its website. Beginning on National Forklift Safety Day, a series of safety-related articles will be posted to Crown’s blog. Topics include “five steps to improving forklift safety” and “tips for engaging operators in forklift safety.” A new product safety features guide will be available for download on Crown’s safety page. The campaign also includes a series of educational safety posters, featuring tips on docking, tipovers, speed and more, that will be released sequentially for download so end users can display within their facility.
“We appreciate the important role the ITA plays in organizing National Forklift Safety Day and have enjoyed collaborating with other OEMs to create a unified message that increases awareness of forklift safety,” says Jim Mozer, senior vice president, Crown Equipment and this year’s ITA National Forklift Safety Day task force chairman. “This annual event is elevating the critical message that safety needs to be top-of-mind every day and is helping everyone understand that any vehicle or technology can be unsafe when used improperly and not supported by the proper safety training, policies and best practices.”
As part of the campaign, Crown will also be highlighting customer stories that feature safety best practices and impactful results, including PEER Bearing, a bearing manufacturer that used Crown’s fleet and operator management system and training course to advance its safety culture.
Yale Celebrates Safety Culture
Company representatives from Yale Materials Handling Corp. will be in Washington, D.C., for the official NFSD events, participating in educational sessions and meeting with congressional representatives on safety, education and workforce.
“The Industrial Truck Association’s National Forklift Safety Day and the National Safety Council’s designation of June as National Safety Month give us an opportunity to spotlight something that’s important to us year-round—safety,” says Chris Murtha, brand manager. “Whether it’s industry-wide education, smart equipment features or effective operator training, we are committed to making the materials handling industry safer and more productive.”
In addition to the corporate presence in Washington, NFSD takes a local twist with Yale dealers. For example, Barclay Brand Ferdon is welcoming visitors to its third annual Safety Summit in South Plainfield, NJ.
Yale’s commitment to safety is also evident in its safety-enhancing lift truck features. The Yale Smart Operator Sensing System uses detection sensors, rather than pedals, to reinforce proper operating position while offering more usable floor space and improved comfort. The Continuous Stability System (CSS) is a simple mechanical system built into the fundamental design of the truck, improving stability with no maintenance requirements, sensors, controllers or extra wiring.
The company’s Yale Handle with Care Operator Training Program draws on 40 years of experience developing professional lift truck operator training. The video-based program covers all five lift truck classes, with necessary tools for customized operator training. Yale also offers pedestrian and forklift safety tip posters that feature best practice checklists based on OSHA regulations.
Toyota Offers No-Cost Safety Consultations
Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A. Inc. (TMHU) has announced its North American dealerships will offer no-cost forklift safety consultations for customers in honor of National Forklift Safety Day. The consultations, provided by authorized Toyota dealers in more than 230 locations in North America, can provide insight about ways to reduce risk in the workplace.
In addition to the safety consultations, Toyota offers training programs and materials along with online resources that address several key safety areas in material handling. Most Toyota forklifts come standard with safety-focused technology features such as the System of Active Stability and Active Mast Function Control, both unique to Toyota.
TMHU’s president Jeff Rufener says, “Toyota’s number one priority is to create safe products, so we’re naturally big supporters of National Forklift Safety Day. Implementing safety audits and training in your organization can reduce injuries, while preventing loss of resources and lowering maintenance costs.”