News story

Safety Day marked on both sides of the Atlantic

Thursday, 13 June 2019 ( #927 ) - Washington, DC, United States
OSHA's Loren Sweatt addresses industry leaders in Washington
OSHA's Loren Sweatt addresses industry leaders in Washington
Forklift officials in the UK have joined their American counterparts for the first time to mark National Forklift Safety Day.

In the US, the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) held its sixth annual National Forklift Safety Day on Tuesday.

"As the North American forklift market continues to be an important component in the economy and supply chain, the need for safety in the workplace becomes even more prevalent," says Scott Johnson, chairman of ITA and vice president of sales and marketing for CLARK Material Handling Company. "National Forklift Safety Day provides the yearly opportunity to gather industry experts and government officials to reinforce the importance of ongoing safety education and training."

Elected officials, safety experts, and industry representatives discussed the effectiveness of training to support successful safety programs across a broad spectrum of industries.

"ITA has been the voice of the industrial truck industry for more than half a century," says Brian Feehan, president of ITA. "We understand there is a critical need for effective forklift operator training, and ITA's National Forklift Safety Day is meant to keep that discussion at the forefront year after year."

In addition to a gathering of industry leaders and legislators in Washington, DC, many ITA members and their dealers sponsored local forklift safety activities for their customers to enhance awareness of safe practices in warehouses, distribution centres, manufacturing plants, and other environments where forklifts are in use.

As part of its continuous commitment to safety, UniCarriers Americas Corporation (UCA) was a strong supporter of the initiative. UCA's factory-owned dealer locations, New England Industrial Truck (NEIT) and Capital Equipment and Handling (CEH), hosted free operator training and recertification courses to encourage and advance forklift safety.

UCA dealer Mid Atlantic Industrial Equipment held an open house at Memorial Hall at York Expo Center complete with presentations, door prizes and giveaways.

"We remain dedicated to providing a safe environment for those who work on and around forklifts," says James J. Radous III, president and CEO of UniCarriers Americas and former chairman of National Forklift Safety Day. "I always consider it an honour to represent UniCarriers Americas in Washington. Reminding lawmakers about the importance and impact of forklifts and forklift safety is among my top priorities as an industry leader."

"The event continues to grow each year, and with that, we progress each year by integrating tools and techniques that can help avoid injuries and ultimately reach our goal in eliminating all forklift accidents," Radous adds.

CLARK Material Handling Company also supported the safety initiative.
"We know that a safe operator is a trained operator and a trained operator is a safer operator, so we'll continue to promote it at every opportunity," says Johnson. "Demand for lift trucks has been very strong over the last five years making the need for continuous awareness for training a must."

In addition to the Washington DC national activities and those coordinated through the ITA and its member companies, CLARK also promotes a special National Forklift Safety Day at its American headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky.

CLARK will host its own NFSD event on Friday, June 14, 2019 from 11:30AM to 1:00PM and feature forklift driving demonstrations, safety presentations, facility tours, door prizes and a free lunch.

"For Yale and the Industrial Truck Association, we must reinforce the importance of forklift safety in a holistic sense, looking out for both operators and pedestrian safety," says Don Buckman, EHS manager for Yale and chair of National Forklift Safety Day 2019. "We're not just dealing with the truck - it's also about the environment around that truck, including facility layout, training and technology."

Yale dealers hosted events to engage customers in forklift safety best practices.
Barclay Brand Ferdon held its fourth annual safety summit in South Plainfield, NJ, complete with seminars, OSHA-led safety discussions and equipment demonstrations.

MH Equipment hosted a community event in Evansville, IN called Tons of Trucks, offering an up-close look at first responder vehicles and large materials handling equipment with safety demonstrations.

Briggs Equipment, meanwhile, offered free safety audits to customers, complemented by video and social media resources to help promote adherence to safe practices.

Toyota Material Handling USA noted that this year will mark the 20th anniversary of its System of Active Stability (SAS). An industry safety innovation, SAS constantly monitors forklift usage to limit the potential for overturn. The SAS takes more than 3,000 readings per second to detect unsafe operating conditions and activate its features to improve the lateral and longitudinal stability of the forklift.

Because of its focus on operator safety, SAS has revolutionised the materials handling industry's expectations for safe operation. The system is engineered with 10 sensors, three actuators and a controller to help maintain forklift stability. SAS now comes standard on most Toyota forklifts.

"Toyota's number one priority is to create safe products and SAS remains an important innovation to help prevent rollovers," says TMHU president Jeff Rufener. "We're proud to have developed a technology that can reduce injuries, while mitigating the loss of goods."

Crown Equipment Corporation used NFSD to collaborate with companies on achieving greater connectivity in their facilities to help enhance safety.

As part of the company's educational campaign designed to increase awareness of the importance of forklift safety, Crown released the next chapter of its e-book "Achieving Material Handling Connectivity." The safety-focused chapter helps readers understand how greater connectivity can provide a platform enabling the use of new data, technologies and processes to reinforce training and positively evolve the mindset and behaviour of operators.

"What we are finding is that safety considerations and initiatives are often accelerating the adoption of connected technologies and equipment inside the facility," says Ron Grisez, director of product safety, Crown Equipment. "For example, customers like the idea of controlling access to ensure equipment is only operated by authorised and certified personnel or having a connected forklift alert managers when there is an impact or maintenance issue that if left unchecked can create a safety hazard."

While greater connectivity in the warehouse helps to create a safe and modern working environment, Crown is also emphasising the responsibility each individual - regardless of role - has in creating and promoting a safety-based culture.

"Everyone should be a contributor to safety. It starts with the right training and that changes mindset and produces safe behaviours," Grisez adds. "It is not just about the quality of the training, but also the accessibility of the training, and not just for operators, but also for trainers, supervisors and even pedestrians."

A number of industry suppliers also participated in the safety awareness campaign. These included EnerSys, where Harold Vanasse, senior director of marketing, motive power Americas, says: "We commend the ITA for continuing National Forklift Safety Day, now in its sixth year, and for its dedication to the overall safety of our industry."

There are similar sentiments at Douglas Battery, where general manager Brian Faust says: "We applaud ITA for its commitment to raise awareness about this important safety topic that greatly impacts our industry. That's why we make sure that all of our locations are aware of National Forklift Safety Day and continuously stress the importance of proper training and education in our industry to avoid serious injury during operations."

Following the US lead, the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) this year adopted June 11 as its first National Forklift Safety Day for the UK. The industry group used the day to stage its Thought Leadership conference, with a focus on health and safety. BITA also used the day to publicise its Design4Safety Awards which will run alongside BITA's co-owned exhibition, IMHX 2019. By focusing on 'design for safety', innovative thinking will be recognised, regardless of the type or cost of product or service, according to the association.
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