Materials handling industry marks safety day

Local News
- 15 Jun 2023 ( #1132 )
3 min read
Chuck Pascarelli
Chuck Pascarelli

Materials handling professionals and safety experts gathered on both sides of the Atlantic this week for the 10th National Forklift Safety Day.

The first National Forklift Safety Day was organised in the United States by the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) to raise awareness of the safe use of forklifts and the importance of proper operator training.

This year’s US in-person and virtual event was held in Washington, DC, with sessions devoted to forklift safety topics, including government policies, technology and best practice in training and safety.

The speakers at the US National Forklift Safety Day event were:

  • Brian Feehan, ITA president
  • Chuck Pascarelli, Hyster-Yale Group Americas president and National Forklift Safety Day chair
  • Douglas Parker, OSHA assistant secretary of labour
  • Michael Wood, TEAM Industrial Services senior vice president for quality, health, safety, and environment
  • Ed Stilwell, Hyster-Yale Group innovation chief technologist.

In his opening remarks, Hyster-Yale’s Pascarelli said: “I believe National Forklift Safety Day creates a real opportunity for our industry to collectively highlight the importance of safety and the need for on-going training.”

In the United States, materials handling companies expressed their support for the national safety day.

Toyota Material Handling (TMH) marked National Forklift Safety Day at its Columbus, Indiana headquarters by reinforcing the importance of operator safety training, technology and forklift safety practices as more new operators join the workforce every year.

“At Toyota, we are dedicated to helping the materials handling industry foster a culture of safety,” said Tom Lego, Toyota Material Handling’s brand ambassador. "Toyota understands that any enduring culture of safety has its foundation in knowledge and best practice sharing – or yokoten – by promoting respect for careful habits when commuting around a facility.”

EnerSys senior director of marketing motive power global Harold Vanasse said: “Forklifts are valuable pieces of equipment that support industry and our global supply chain; but powered industrial trucks violations were among OSHA’s (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) 10 highest citation areas last year.

“Like the ITA, we share a similar desire to spread awareness of the importance of forklift safety education, training and the need for innovative solutions to help reduce exposure to potential injury, and we are proud to support their ongoing efforts during National Forklift Safety Day.” 

Materials handling equipment maker Logisnext was also among the firms taking part in the safety day.

As well as marking the day at its own three worksites, Logisnext prepared a National Forklift Safety Day toolkit for its dealer network.

Raymond Corporation was also involved, with chief executive Michael Field thanking forklift operators everywhere for keeping things moving.

“We believe it’s important to highlight the material handling, warehousing and distribution industry’s appreciation for its workers and operators,” Field said.

“It’s that appreciation that shows up in equipment and product design, our work processes, and our dedication to continuous improvement.”

Field said engaging learning program, operator assist technologies, worker-focused process optimisation were key tools for forklift safety.

Tim Waples
Tim Waples

Meanwhile in the UK, the theme for the June 13 event was “safe sites save lives”.

The first UK National Forklift Safety Day took place in 2019, with the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA), which was merged into UK Material Handling Association (UKMHA), leading the campaign.

UKMHA chief executive Tim Waples said: “The safe movement of goods is so important to so many sectors: warehousing, logistics, retail fulfillment, manufacturing – the list is almost endless.

“The UK Materials Handling Association seeks to enhance the prosperity, raise the profile and lift industry standards for all stakeholders of the UK materials handling industry.”

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