What is National Forklift Safety Day?

It seems like we have a “Day” for everything now. Thanks to the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), we can add another one to the list: National Forklift Safety Day. While it’s doubtful the day will catch on like, say, Independence Day, forklift manufacturers and the material handling industry, in general, are giving the day their full support.

The main event is going to be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on June 10. According to an article in Forklift Action, the list of speakers includes:

• ITA President Brian Feehan
• ITA board chair Brian Butler
• Doug Kalinowski from OSHA
• A foreign trade expert from the House of Representatives or Senate


national forklift safety day logo


The ITA events page that announces the day emphasizes the obvious, saying it will “serve as a focal point for manufacturers to highlight the safe use of forklifts and importance of operator training.” This is echoed in an article in Modern Materials Handling, Toyota Material Handling announces support for National Forklift Safety Day. The MMH article goes on to briefly outline the importance of forklift safety, citing OSHA studies that reveal why operator awareness of safety issues and training is so vitally important. According to the article:

• 70% percent of all industrial accidents are operator-induced (National Safety Council)
• Effective training may reduce the accident rate by 25 to 30 percent (OSHA)
• After training lift truck operators, OSHA found a 61% improvement in operator performance scores.

Clark Material Handling, too, is supporting the day. According to another article in MMH, Clark plans on staging an “a full complement of events” to promote the day at their Lexington, Kentucky headquarters, including:

• A customer open house;
• A lift truck operator instruction training certification course;
• Safety demonstrations;
• And more.

If National Forklift Safety Day takes off, it will go a long way towards improving forklift safety wherever forklifts are in operation.

Something else is on the agenda for the inaugural event in Washington DC. At least one prominent material handling corporation is urging attendees to take advantage of being in the nation’s capital and express support for several trade policy initiatives, including:

• The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP);
• The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); and
• The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

According to ITA’s Brian Butler as quoted in the Forklift Action article cited above, “the issue of fair/free trade remains an opportunity for the industry. Our efforts to eliminate tariffs and work towards creating a more level playing field remain a priority for ITA.” With the next round of TTIP talks scheduled for May 19-23 in Washington, the timing is perfect for highlighting these important trade agreements during the event at the Hyatt Regency.

You may not want to pack your bags and head for Washington DC on the 10th of June, but why not set aside some time for a lift truck safety demonstration at your facility? Make National Forklift Safety Day an annual event and stay on the right side of the statistics. As OSHA points out, operator safety also improves operator performance, so it’s a “win-win” proposition.


About Marie Q.

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