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October 2017
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Importance of operator training focus of National Forklift Safety Day 2017

After completing forklift operator training, operator performance scores improved by 61 percent, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The critical need for and proven effectiveness of training was today’s key message at the fourth annual National Forklift Safety Day, held by the Industrial Truck Association (ITA).

Furthering its mission to raise awareness and improve safety, ITA has continued its recent alliance with OSHA to provide Compliance Officer Training Seminars to OSHA inspectors across the country. To date, ITA has presented the seminar approximately 30 times, reaching more than 600 OSHA personnel and covering all of OSHA’s 12 regions.

“Safety is the cornerstone of our industry, and operator training is a major component in reducing worker injuries and fatalities,” said Brett Wood, president and CEO of Toyota Material Handling North America and chairman of ITA. “We are very pleased to have other industries representing end user market segments participate in National Forklift Safety Day and support the continued need for operator training.”  

ITA’s combined effort with OSHA to enhance operator training marked the beginning of the relationship the forklift industry maintains with OSHA today. ITA’s alliance with OSHA has led to collaborations in reviewing the Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) E-Tool and OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletins related to forklifts, along with enhanced distribution of safety materials. ITA also co-sponsors OSHA’s Safe and Sound Week, which takes place around the country this week. “As a co-sponsor of the Safe and Sound Campaign, we certainly find it very fitting that National Forklift Safety Day coincides with this critical campaign,” said Brian Feehan, president of ITA.

National Forklift Safety Day serves as an opportunity for forklift manufacturers to highlight the safe use of forklifts, the importance of operator training and the need for daily equipment checks. This year’s speakers from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and OSHA, along with elected officials and industry representatives, articulated the effectiveness of training to support successful safety programs across a broad spectrum of industries.

“One of the most rewarding moments I have in serving as ITA chairman is seeing our industry come together to support safety. We are strong competitors in the marketplace, but we set aside that competitive drive to rally as one voice in support of safety,” Wood said.

As part of National Forklift Safety Day, many ITA members and their dealers across the country are sponsoring forklift safety events for their customers, which often include free operator training, distributing safety materials and hosting open houses.
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