Celebrating Forklift Safety This June
Due to lingering concerns about Covid-19, National Forklift Safety Day (NSFD) on June 8, 2021 will once again be a virtual event. However, there is plenty of great information being disseminated to help all players in the material handling space put safety first. In its 8th year, NFSD, sponsored by the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), continues to emphasize the importance of training, checklists and safety for everyone involved in forklift operations. At Madland Toyota-Lift, our primary focus remains on the safety of forklift operations. We want everyone to go home at the end of the shift!
The Repercussions of Unsafe Forklift Operations
Unfortunately, even with the renewed push for safe forklift operations in recent years, forklift accidents and fatalities involving operators, pedestrians and bystanders continues to happen. According to the National Safety Council, statistics available for 2019 indicate 79 deaths and 8,140 non-fatal injuries were caused by forklifts. The number of incidents has climbed steadily since 2011, even with more emphasis on training and safety. This may be attributed to the climb in business over this period - there are more forklifts and more people working on and around them.
A vast majority of these incidents involve what is labeled as a "transportation" event, since forklifts (or industrial trucks) are generally mobile which contributes to their safety issues. Forklifts are generally loud, making it hard to hear someone in the vicinity, and they have a tendency to tip over when not operated correctly. Operators who have not learned how to safely operate a forklift put themselves - and everybody else - in danger of not making it home that day.
Because the category for forklift also includes pickers and platforms, other causes for these grim statistics include contact with an object or equipment, struck by an object, caught in an object, equipment or material, struck against an object, falls, slips and trips, fall to lower level, fall on same level, and overexertion. Some of the injuries reported in the statistics include broken bones, cuts, traumatic injuries and amputations. From highest offender down, industries that see these fatalities and injuries include service providing industries, trade, transportation and utilities, goods producing industries, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing and construction.
It's hard to understand when faced with these facts that 25% of forklift accidents and fatalities are caused by a lack of training according to OSHA. But it could be argued that since forklift overturns caused by unsafely operating a forklift are the leading cause of death, training - or the lack thereof - is probably the single most important thing that can be done to alleviate these statistics.
How Proper Training Helps
Combining OSHA-approved forklift training with the correct safety gear, utilizing a daily equipment checklist and taking advantage of technological leaps designed to make forklifts safer can all be used to promote forklift safety. Training is not only required by law in the United States, it's the best bet to keep a workplace safe. OSHA-mandated forklift training consists of:
- Training and certification of any employee operating a powered industrial truck
- Training must be specific to the type of vehicle the employee will operate
- Performance must be checked every three years
- Operators must undergo re-training for incidents or unsafe behavior
Did you know that properly training employees can save you money and reduce turnover? It's true! Insurance rates go down when you don't have accidents to report. Employees who know you care about them tend to stick around longer. Morale is improved, productivity is up and employees appreciate the investment in their knowledge and skills.
Today's forklifts come with innovations geared to help operators stay more alert and become less fatigued, leading to a reduction in accidents caused by operator error. At Madland Toyota-Lift, we have professionals who can help you compare forklift models and their safety and ergonomic features to find the best fit for your specific challenges.
Madland Toyota-Lift also offers OSHA-compliant forklift safety training with convenient locations and schedules to accommodate your busy calendar. We truly believe that safety is paramount and has to come first in any material handling or other business that utilizes forklifts. We are here to help you put safety at the forefront. Contact Madland Toyota-Lift for your safety training needs.
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