For the fourth year running, the materials handling industry in the United States has marked National Forklift Safety Day.
One of the highlights was a special event held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill, featuring speakers from OSHA and the National Safety Council, the chairman of the Congressional Subcommittee having jurisdictional oversight for OSHA, and key industry representatives.
Sponsored by the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), National Forklift Safety Day serves as a focal point for manufacturers to highlight the safe use of forklifts and the importance of operator training. This special day provides an opportunity for the industry to educate customers, the public and government officials about safe forklift operation.
Various companies contributed to the promotion of this initiative with their own programs. Toyota Material Handling, USA (TMHU) promoted safety awareness through its North American dealerships, which offered no-cost forklift safety consultations for customers on June 13.
TMHU president Jeff Rufener says Toyota is proud to be a leader in the safety world. "There is nothing more important to us than helping our customers stay safe in their working environment," he says.
The campaign reinforced Toyota's belief that forklift safety should be part of a comprehensive approach to a safe and productive workplace and "a consultation with your authorised Toyota dealer is an opportunity to add the dealer's expertise to your own".
Crown Equipment Corporation promoted the safety message by distributing posters throughout its locations and to customers as a reminder that safety is everyone's responsibility.
"A core part of a safety culture is ongoing training at various levels of an organisation in order to help minimise the possibility of complacency," says Ron Grisez, director of product safety, Crown Equipment. "For successful safety programs, it is not just about the quality of the training, but also the accessibility of the training. This is why Crown engages operators, service technicians, trainers, supervisors and even pedestrians in safety initiatives."
The safety initiative also enjoyed the support of Trelleborg Wheel Systems, with Jimmy McDonnell, director, OEM sales North America, for industrial and construction tyres, saying it is the responsibility of all in the materials handling industry "to make safety our top priority".
"We at Trelleborg are dedicated to working with our customers to make the industry safer. Quality matters because safety matters. We are very proud to support National Forklift Safety Day and to stand beside everyone involved to best ensure the protection of one of American industry's greatest assets: the workers who keep this country running," he adds.
Yale marked National Forklift Safety Day with the release of pedestrian and forklift safety tips posters. The posters highlight best practices based on OSHA regulations, like proper distance between forklifts, right of way, load stability and more.
"By working with the industry as a whole, we can continue to advance safe practices that can not only reduce injuries and accidents, but can also help increase productivity and profitability," says Chris Murtha, brand manager, Yale Materials Handling Corporation. "National Forklift Safety Day and the extensive line-up of safety resources from Yale are a great way to maintain a culture that prioritises safety in materials handling operations throughout the country."
Yale will also host a Compliance Officer Training Seminar in July, a collaborative event sponsored by ITA for OSHA. OSHA compliance officers who attend will receive training on recommended best practices and industry standards for forklifts.
The US safety initiative also enjoyed support from dealers like North Haven, Connecticut-based Summit Toyota Lift which sent customers a reminder that by law, employers must obtain training, evaluation and certification for all forklift operators. "Employers must retrain in the event of an accident, near miss, observed unsafe behaviour, and/or any change in equipment or operating conditions. Even in the absence of these, training must be renewed every three years," the dealership advised.
ITA says it hopes National Forklift Safety Day will provide greater awareness of safe practices as well as encourage safer behaviour in warehouses, distribution centres, manufacturing plants, and other environments where forklifts are in use.
Details of next year's National Forklift Safety Day plans will be announced shortly.