National Forklift Safety Day 2021 will take place on June 8 to promote forklift safety best practices, operator training, and equipment inspections with the goal of preventing injuries, fatalities, equipment damage, and many other costly losses.

First used over 100 years ago, forklifts are essential to the commercial transportation and warehousing industry, being used to lift, move, and place freight weighing up to 70 tons. However, forklifts can be extremely hazardous when used the wrong way. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, forklift-related incidents caused 614 worker fatalities and over 49,000 time-loss injuries between 2011 and 2017. Many incidents involved tip-over, crush, and struck-by events, harming operators and pedestrians.

Forklift Injuries in Trucking

In trucking, the use of forklifts to load and unload trailers puts truck drivers at high risk of being crushed and struck. Unpublished Washington State workers’ compensation claim data shows that 501 forklift-related injuries occurred within the general and specialized freight trucking sectors between 2006 and 2018. This represents 36 percent of the total forklift related injuries in the State’s transportation and warehousing industry. A third of these injuries were serious, ending in time-loss claims.

An excellent way to reduce the risk of forklift incidents is to include job hazard analysis (JHA) in in your written company safety program. Performing a JHA involves four basic steps:

  • Selecting the job to be analyzed.
  • Breaking the job down into sequential order.
  • Identifying potential hazards.
  • Finding hazard prevention solutions.

Documenting your JHA on a standard form can help communicate forklift hazard prevention solutions to employees.

National Forklift Safety Day is a perfect time to elevate your forklift safety training and education program for truck drivers, equipment operators, material handlers, and mechanics. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Hold a special safety meeting.
  • Plan a safety knowledge contest.
  • Celebrate successes.
  • Start a new safety practice.
  • Perform a job hazard analysis.
  • Conduct refresher training.
  • Review safety bulletins or watch a safety video.

Consider watching the Industrial Truck Association’s virtual event at 9:00 AM ET on June 8. The event will feature speakers and presentations from forklift safety experts representing private industry and government.

Click on the following links for free forklift hazard prevention training materials:

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries:

Safety Topics: Forklifts  

U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA):

Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklift) eTool

Powered Industrial Trucks – Forklifts

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Workers Who Operate or Work Near Forklifts

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