One of the biggest challenges for manufacturing and ware- housing companies is finding and retaining talent, and this disturbing statistic certainly is a factor: In OSHA’sranking of the top 10 safety violations in the workplace, forkliftoperations came in seventh, as OSHA reported 2,093 violationsinvolving forklifts in 2019. And according to the Bureau of LaborStatistics, forklifts were the cause of 74 fatalities and 9,050 nonfatal workplace injuries or illnesses with days away from work in2017. So in the wrong hands (particularly the untrained or undertrained), these vehicles are quite deadly indeed.
Seven years ago, Material Handling & Logistics and its sister
publication EHS Today helped to launch National Forklift Safety
Day, an annual event that focuses on the safe use of forklifts and
the importance of operator training to foster a safety culture within
manufacturing and distribution environments. Although this year’s
event ended up going virtual (due to the COVID- 19 pandemic),
we asked safety experts at several of the major forklift manufac-
turers to participate in a discussion of current efforts being made
to improve overall warehouse safety, and what steps safety profes-
sionals should take to ensure that forklift operators and pedestrians
alike go home safely every night.
Participating in the forklift safety roundtable (in alphabetical
• Don Buckman, EHS manager, Americas Divi-
sion, Yale Materials Handling Corp.
• Ron Grisez, director of product safety, CrownEquipment.
• Jack Kaumo, director of i WAREHOUSE technology solutions, The Raymond Corporation.
• Tom Lego, brand ambassador, Toyota MaterialHandling.
MH&L: What are the main reasonsthat so many accidents happen in awarehouse and on a loading dock?What are the most typical types ofaccidents?
RON GRISEZ: That’s a bit like asking whyso many car accidents happen at intersections. Thereare a variety of factors and reasons, with each accident offering something unique. The more important question to ask is how can we make intersectionssafer, or in this case, warehouses.
It’s important to remember that warehouses anddocks are dynamic environments with a lot of activity. Also, while some forklifts may appear smallerthan an automobile, they are typically many timesheavier, especially when they are carrying a load.This is why forklift safety must never be casual orconsidered an afterthought.
If you want to build and maintain a strong safety
Four forklift experts weighin on how new designs andtechnologies are making theworkplace safer.
By Dave Blanchard
VR instructional tools can help attract new talent to the industry.
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