It’s the sixth annual National Forklift Safety Day, designated as such by The Industrial Truck Association (ITA), which uses it as an opportunity for the industry to educate customers, policymakers, and government officials about the safe use of forklifts and the importance of proper operator training.
In addition to a gathering in Washington, D.C. that will feature speakers from both industry and government, there’ll also be events around the country at which forklift manufacturers and dealers will enhance awareness of safe practices in warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing plants, and other environments where forklifts are in use.
According to OSHA, overturns are the leading cause of fatalities involving forklifts. They represent about 25 percent of all forklift-related deaths.
Most fatalities occur when a worker is crushed by a forklift that has overturned or fallen from a loading dock. Investigations of forklift-related deaths by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) indicate that many workers and employers:
- May not be aware of the risks of operating or working near forklifts
- Are not following the procedures set forth in the OSHA standards, consensus standards, or equipment manufacturer's guidelines.
Leading the program in Washington, D.C. will be ITA President Brian Feehan and National Forklift Safety Day 2019 Chairman Don C. Buckman, environmental health and safety manager and corporate responsibility leader for Hyster-Yale Group. A morning program is focusing on a variety of forklift safety-related topics. In the afternoon, ITA members will visit Capitol Hill to meet with their congressional representatives.
- A representative of the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Congressional Committee (TBA)
- Loren Sweatt, acting assistant secretary, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Scott Johnson, chairman, ITA board of directors, Clark Material Handling Company
- Don Buckman, National Forklift Safety Day chair, Hyster-Yale Group
- Charles Brooks, Risk Consultants of America Inc.
- Brian Duffy, director of corporate environmental and manufacturing safety, Crown Equipment Corp.
ITA represents manufacturers of lift trucks, AGVs, and similar equipment in North America. The organization promotes standards development, advances engineering and safety practices, disseminates statistical information, and holds industry forums.