Forklift safety promoted in US and UK

Local News
- 11 Jun 2020 ( #978 )
4 min read
For the second year, forklift safety was promoted on both sides of the Atlantic with National Forklift Safety Day (NFSD) 2020 celebrated in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The event, organised by the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) for the seventh time, was also marked on 9 June by the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) in the UK for the second year running.

Because of COVID-19, both organisations were forced to abandon plans for public events and, instead, opted for virtual presentations.

ITA streamed presentations from a number of experts, including its current chairman, Jay Gusler, vice president of operations, Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America and loren Sweatt, principal deputy assistant secretary of Labor at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"Safety has been and will continue to be paramount to our industry," said Gusler. "Collectively, we dedicate a tremendous amount of time and effort to ensure the safety of our products. From an industry perspective, the collaboration, through the ITA, has been instrumental in keeping our industry at the forefront of the latest developments in codes and standards. Safety requires dedication, time and perseverance. We must take the time to ensure proper safety training is adhered to and make it a priority."

Government officials, safety experts, and industry representatives discussed a variety of subjects, including pedestrian safety and temporary employee safety, that emphasised the need for operator training across all aspects of the industry.

"Industrial truck manufacturers have long supported the necessity of operator training and safe work practices," said Brian Feehan, ITA president. "We are sponsoring this event to focus on the importance of safety and training. Safety is paramount to our industry and operator training has been proven to prevent accidents."

In addition to the ITA virtual event, many ITA members and their dealers, through social media and other safe practices, helped raise awareness of safe practices in warehouses, distribution centres, manufacturing plants and other environments where forklifts are in use.

Besides Gusler's virtual presentation, MCFA and its Cat, Mitsubishi and Jungheinrich brands provided operators with training and safety resources, including Forklift Rules Of The Road, and published a range of Forklift Certification FAQs.

Toyota Material Handling indicated its support for the industry with a statement stressing its dedication to preserving the safety of forklift operators and pedestrians.

"Building a culture of safety is imperative to successful operations, and Toyota's forklifts are engineered from the ground up with the safety of your operators and other personnel in mind. The future of your associates' safety should rely on a history of safety ingenuity," it says in the statement.

Toyota Forklifts dealers across the United States and Canada offered customers no-cost forklift safety consultations.

The safety initiative also drew support from battery specialist EnerSys.

"This year's event carries even greater importance due to the global crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as supply chain operations are in overdrive to ensure the flow of products and resources in all industries across the nation," says an EnerSys statement.

"This year's celebration of National Forklift Safety Day is especially unique due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and validates even more the importance of safety and operator training," says Harold Vanasse, Senior director of marketing, motive power - Americas at EnerSys. "Despite the challenges that remain as a result of this global health crisis, we applaud ITA for their unwavering drive to raise awareness about this pertinent industry topic."

Crown Equipment Corporation used NFSD to emphasise the importance of taking a holistic approach to safety that brings a consistent focus on safety management and stresses the important role everyone plays in a safer work environment.

To help inform warehouse, supply chain and safety managers, Crown is releasing the first chapter of its new e-book, An Integrated Approach to Forklift Safety, via its virtual trade show.

"Now more than ever, everyone, regardless of their role, has an important part to play in creating and promoting a strong forklift safety culture in the workplace," says Jim Mozer, senior vice president, Crown Equipment. "We hope that our new safety e-book, as well as other safety content, will serve as a valuable resource to help companies establish best practices in their unique, ever-changing work environments."

Ireland's Combilift is among the companies marking NFSD in both the US and the UK, with managing director Martin McVicar praising the initiative to promote a safer working environment for all those who work with, on or near forklifts.

"Since Combilift was established, a cornerstone of the company's design philosophy has been to supply innovative handling solutions that reduce risk and prevent accidents," he says.

"To mark the National Forklift Safety Day this year, we will be taking a closer look at some of our individual models and explain how they contribute to enhanced safety procedures in the warehouse, production facilities and for loading and offloading raw materials and finished products."
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