This year, we celebrate the ninth annual National Forklift Safety Day (NFSD) on June 14, 2022. NFSD was created to increase the awareness of—and emphasize the importance of—continued operator training. We are excited to be able to host this year’s event both in person and live online. Whether you are a member of the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), work in the material handling industry or government, or come from the end-user community, we invite you to take part in NFSD 2022.
Jonathan Dawley, president and CEO of Kion North America, will serve as NFSD 2022 chair. The main event, featuring presentations by government policymakers and forklift safety experts, will be held at the historic National Press Club in Washington, D.C., from 9 to 11 a.m. To reach as many people as possible, we will also livestream the event. In-person and virtual attendees can register here.
We are pleased to announce that Forklift Safety Day has been adopted in many markets around the world. Through our Alliance of Industrial Truck Organizations (A.I.T.O.) and several national associations, Forklift Safety Days are now held in Japan, China, the United Kingdom, and Australia, with more in the planning stages.
We would also like to bring to your attention a regulatory development affecting powered industrial trucks (PITs). In a follow-up to a request ITA made in 2014, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published in the Feb. 16, 2022, Federal Register a proposed update to the design and construction requirements of the PIT standards. The OSHA powered industrial truck standard in 29 CFR 1910.178 and the construction requirements for PITs in 29 CFR 1910.26 incorporate by reference the design and construction requirements of the 1969 version of the B56 standard, which is now well over 50 years old and is obsolete. But OSHA can only incorporate later versions of consensus standards into federal law if it determines that they are at least as protective as the originally incorporated standard—an enormous burden given the many dozens of changes in consensus standards since 1969. This proposed regulation, therefore, represents a special effort, undertaken at ITA’s request, to evaluate the preceding versions of B56—an effort that led OSHA to conclude that the standards have indeed become more protective of employee safety over the years.
Safety remains paramount to the ITA, its members, and other material handling industry stakeholders as our products help businesses meet continued growth in demand. In fact, ITA recorded an all-time high number of retail equipment orders in 2021, exceeding 347,000 units in North America. At the same time, the U.S. is experiencing a very tight labor market, a situation that could result in many new employees, potentially including forklift operators, working in warehouses. This growth and changing labor environment make it more important than ever that we collectively raise awareness of overall safety and the continued need for forklift operator training.
In addition to sponsoring National Forklift Safety Day, the ITA serves as an influential industry voice for standards development, statistical information, and trade; advances engineering practices to promote safer products; collects and disseminates market statistics; provides industry forums; and partners with OSHA to conduct compliance officer training and distribute workplace safety materials. If you are involved in the manufacturing of powered industrial trucks—or are a supplier to PIT manufacturers—we invite you to contact the ITA to learn more about our organization.
Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you on June 14, 2022.
Brian J. Feehan
Industrial Truck Association