ITA Forklift Safety Day logo 2020

Industrial Truck Association National Forklift Safety Day goes virtual

On June 9th the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) will host our 7th National Forklift Safety Day.

The impact of COVID-19 remains to pose challenges for our nation. Due to these challenges, this year ITA’s National Forklift Safety Day (NFSD) 2020 will be held as a virtual event on the same date and time:  June 9, 2020, starting at 9:00 AM (east coast time) and can be viewed by visiting the ITA’s web site www.indtrk.org.

COVID-19 continues to have a major impact on our country and on the safety and health of the nation’s workforce.  ITA members, as manufacturers, employers, and members of their communities, are doing their part to help the country through these unprecedented times. The use of forklifts and other powered industrial trucks (PITs) is integral to virtually every supply chain in every industry. ITA members’ products operate in all 50 states in over 300 industries. The top industries include warehousing, grocery wholesaling, and general freight trucking. Every critically needed supply category (medicine, medical devices, personal protective equipment, food & beverage, etc.) is moved by a forklift at one or more points in the supply chain. Therefore, it has never been more important to highlight and reinforce the message of forklift safety and operator training.

Safety remains one of ITA’s top priorities as a national trade association. ITA works closely with OSHA, through our alliance partnership, in conducting ITA’s popular compliance officer training seminars on forklift safety. The OSHA-ITA Alliance is now in its 16th year and our training program is in its 14th year. We have trained hundreds of OSHA compliance officers and consultation personnel on the safe use of our products, supplying them with workplace safety materials, and communicating specialized forklift safety information.  In the area of safety standards, ITA has for many years partnered with the American National Standards Institute, the Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation, and the International Organization for Standardization to develop critical safety standards and work towards harmonizing those standards for the global marketplace.

What is National Forklift Safety Day

Creating awareness regarding safety and the need for operator training has been one of the fundamental pillars of National Forklift Safety Day and that remains true today. In fact, the number of forklift accidents each year is about one-half of what it was 20 years ago, even though the number of forklifts in use has increased. Most of that decline followed OSHA’s adoption of a vastly improved operator training regulation in 1998. After completing forklift operator training, operator performance scores improved by 61 percent, according to OSHA. We are working to continue that progress with National Forklift Safety Day (NFSD) by.

  • Holding (NFSD) annually, on the second Tuesday of June, to serve as a focal point for manufacturers to highlight the safe use of forklifts and the importance of operator training.
  • Providing an opportunity for the industry to educate customers, policymakers, and the Administration on forklift safe operating practices.
  • Addressing critical priorities concerning forklift operator safety through improved education and training.

COVID – 19 and the Essential Business of Forklift Manufacturers and Suppliers

Powered industrial trucks play an indispensable role in virtually every production facility, warehouse, and distribution facility used to get products to the market for sale.  Powered industrial trucks, both new and old, are essential to ensure that the public can get food, hospitals their medical supplies and other necessities of life continue to move through the supply chain.  The continued production, sale, rental, replacement parts distribution, component suppliers, and servicing of powered industrial trucks are essential to enabling the nation’s economy to continue to meet the demand for products and services that the public relies on upon their day-to-day life.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has identified several “Critical Infrastructure Sectors,” including the Critical Manufacturing Sector, of which Machinery Manufacture is a sub-sector, Food and Agriculture Sector, Healthcare and Public Health. As DHS notes, the sectors are often interdependent for “continuity of operations and service delivery.”  For example, aspects of the Food and Agriculture, Defense Industrial Base, Government Facilities, Healthcare, and Transportation sectors are dependent on products in the Critical Manufacturing Sector, specifically powered industrial trucks.

The industry at large has played a vital role in maintaining the continuity of operations during the coronavirus outbreak and also an integral component in keeping the economy moving. The industry has been able to respond to the challenges associated with COVID-19 through the dedication and commitment of all of the employees throughout the supply chain.

COVID – 19 has forced the industry to evaluate existing business practices and adopt protocols that ensure safety. How the industry incorporates some of these new practices in the future remains to be seen, however, efficiencies in operations, enhanced communications strategies and further embracing technology will no doubt find a way to make permanent improvements.

ITA’s 26 Regular Members manufacture PITs and its 38 Associate Members manufacture PIT components, attachments, and accessories.  ITA’s membership accounts for approximately 90% of the PITs sold in America. We stand ready to support the continuity of operations and service delivery for essential products and services this country needs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

I hope that you can join us virtually on June 9, 2020. Thank you and stay safe.

Be sure to listen to Brian with Kevin Lawton on the June Cover Story podcast.  Click here to listen.

Brian J. Feehan the president of the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) in Washington D.C. E-mail editorial@mhwmag.com to contact Brian