National Forklift Safety Day serves as a key opportunity for forklift vendors, companies using material handling equipment, and other stakeholders to highlight and promote the safe use of forklifts and the importance of operator training. While the 2023 event is now in the books, the 2024 National Forklift Safety Day celebration is just around the corner. Here are some reasons to celebrate this day and ways to support it:
Reasons to Celebrate National Forklift Safety Day
Raising Safety Awareness: National Forklift Safety Day helps create awareness about forklift safety and the importance of proper training. This can lead to fewer accidents, improved operational efficiency, and a safer working environment. “The operator is the most important component of a forklift,” said Tom Lego, Toyota Material Handling‘s Brand Ambassador.
“Training and investing in these individuals is paramount, even for the most seasoned operators,” he continued. “There is always something new in this industry because each setting is unique and different. We build great trucks for many different applications using the best technology, but we find that proper training and ample opportunities to hone the skills of these essential workers are the most important investments in forklift safety.”
“For more than 100 years, we’ve developed innovative tools and technologies that help move materials efficiently,” added Michael Field, president and CEO, The Raymond Corporation. “But at the heart of it all are the forklift operators themselves. That’s why we’re recognizing and thanking all the forklift operators who keep things moving. And it’s why we’re committed to offering solutions that help operators work more confidently and efficiently.”
Highlighting Regulations: The event provides a platform to emphasize compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and other local safety standards.
Encouraging Employee Engagement: Recognizing the day can boost morale and engage employees by showing the company’s commitment to their safety. For example, Mitsubishi Logisnext employees across the company’s three campuses in Houston, Texas; Marengo, IL and Grand Rapids, MI, celebrated the milestone occasion as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to focus on safety best practices.
Training and Education: It’s an ideal time to hold safety training sessions or refreshers for employees, ensuring they’re up-to-date with safety protocols and best practices.To further raise awareness of the importance of forklift safety in the workplace, a National Forklift Safety Day toolkit was made available to the Logisnext dealer network to help promote the “Safety First” campaign to employees and customers during the month of June.
In another example, Hyster announced completely redesigned training videos for the newly updated Hyster® Operator Training Program, set for release Tuesday, June 14 in conjunction with National Forklift Safety Day (NFSD). Thoughtfully developed with contemporary adult learning methodologies, the videos help fast-paced operations level up their lift truck operator training and staff up quickly to keep pace with demand.
Training Sessions: One of the most effective ways to support National Forklift Safety Day is by organizing or participating in safety training sessions. These sessions could take the form of workshops, webinars, or on-the-job training. The objective should be to review and reinforce safe operating procedures, emergency protocols, and the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
These activities could also involve testing employees’ knowledge of safety procedures, or simulations to let them practice responding to hypothetical safety incidents. Additionally, this could be an excellent time to introduce any new safety equipment or protocols and demonstrate how to use them effectively.
Safety Audits: Conducting a comprehensive safety audit of all facilities that use forklifts is another crucial way to support this event. This entails walking through the entire operation, looking for potential hazards like cluttered aisles, poor lighting, or malfunctioning equipment. Regular safety audits not only help identify risks before they lead to accidents but also demonstrate a company’s commitment to maintaining a safe work environment. Once potential hazards are identified, companies should take immediate action to mitigate them, such as implementing new safety measures or correcting unsafe behaviors.
Promotion: In this digital age, social media platforms and other communication channels can be powerful tools to promote National Forklift Safety Day. Companies can create and share content related to forklift safety, such as safety tips, statistics, or success stories. This might involve creating a series of posts leading up to the day or even launching a short-term social media campaign. Besides raising awareness, this also serves to reinforce a culture of safety within the organization and its broader community.
Vendor Participation: Vendors that manufacture or sell forklifts and related equipment can also play an active role. They might offer special promotions or incentives related to safety features or training programs. For example, they could offer discounts on safety equipment, free safety assessments, or reduced rates for safety training programs. These initiatives demonstrate the vendors’ commitment to safety, can increase customer goodwill, and potentially encourage more businesses to invest in safety.
Collaboration: Lastly, forming partnerships with local businesses, trade associations, and regulatory bodies to host community events is another effective approach. These could include safety workshops, panel discussions, or demonstrations. Such collaborations can help to spread awareness, share best practices, and build a network of organizations committed to workplace safety. Importantly, these collaborative efforts should aim to have a lasting impact that extends well beyond National Forklift Safety Day itself, fostering an ongoing culture of safety.
While National Forklift Safety Day offers a valuable opportunity to focus on forklift safety, it’s important to remember that these efforts should not be limited to just one day. Safety is a year-round endeavor and should always be a top priority in any operation involving forklifts and other material handling equipment.