A day promoting safety should be promoted by all of us
On June 14, the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), leading forklift manufacturers, and other companies and organizations will stage the third annual National Forklift Safety Day (NFSD). UniCarriers Americas President James J. Radous III is serving as chairman of the important event.
“I’m proud UniCarriers is taking a leadership role in this effort, and I look forward to speaking at the event,” noted Radous. “I’ll be joined by other speakers including the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor, a member of the National Safety Council, and Representative Tim Walberg of Michigan, whose subcommittee oversees OSHA.”
NFSD will be held at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill Hotel in Washington and will include representatives of OSHA, leaders in our industry, members of the media, and government officials. But, in reality, forklift safety is a cause that should be promoted throughout the United States. When you look at statistics, you’ll understand why.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over a four-year period between 2011 and 2014, 130 workers were killed in accidents involving industrial trucks. Beyond fatalities, thousands are injured every year in these accidents. In 2014 alone, the Bureau reported that forklift injuries affected some 7,780 people.
The cost of industrial accidents to businesses reaches into the billions of dollars in lost wages, hours, and productivity; medical expenses; equipment damage; inventory lost; and insurance costs.
AWARENESS IS THE KEY TO PREVENTING ACCIDENTS.
PROPER TRAINING IS THE KEY TO GREATER SAFETY.
The mission of NFSD is to reduce forklift accidents by improving operator training. Since accidents are most often caused through improper vehicle use and handling, putting the focus on proper operator training is essential if we are to create ever-safer work environments.
And training works. After OSHA made training a requirement in 1999, the number of accidents plummeted, even as the number of forklifts in operation went up. In fact, between 2004 and 2014, forklift accidents went down by some 42%.
But, even one fatality, one injury, or one accident is too many.
“We all have a role to play in advancing the mission of NFSD,” states Radous. “We need to reach forklift owners with our message, and the best way to do that is through local dealers. Dealers across the nation will be offering free operator training on NFSD. That’s something we’re pushing for with our dealers.”
Last year, free training sessions held at UniCarriers locations were completely filled. The goal for 2016 is to increase dealership and customer participation in this invaluable event.
Getting dealers involved is critical to the success of NFSD and our mission to make safety a priority whenever forklifts are used. We encourage you to promote NFSD and share our message — and our mission — throughout your organization and with your customers.
UniCarriers dealers are encouraged to participate, build excitement in their communities, engage their staff, reach out to local media, and, above all, work with customers to spread the word on the essential value of proper operator training.
“Safety is something that transcends a single day or an individual effort on anyone’s part. So, be sure to use NFSD logos in all of your communications,” advises Radous. “In your dealership, on your vehicles, websites, and in your advertising, you can promote NFSD and help us meet our goal of bringing greater safety to the workplace. Above all, we encourage you to mark National Forklift Safety Day with training sessions and other activities for your customers.”
NFSD material is available for UniCarriers dealers.