National Forklift Safety Day Statistics

In 2021-2022, there were a total of 40,513 forklift related incidents resulting in days away from work, job restrictions, transfers, and fatalities. There were 24,960 DART (days away from work, job restriction, or transfer) cases; 15,480 of those cases are categorized as DAFW (days away from work). There were 143 total fatalities, 70 of which occurred in 2021 and 73 of which occurred in 2022.

Historical data shows trends in fatalities and DAFW incidents. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) transitioned from an annual to a biennial publication schedule. Historical data prior to 2021 will show single year reporting of incidents using the classification DAFW. BLS now publishes detailed data covering two years and is classified as DAFW, DJTR (days of job transfer or restriction), and DART cases.

Since 2011, the fatalities are nearly consistent with two outliers. The highest year of fatalities is historically 2018 at 85 incidents, and the lowest year of fatalities is historically 2017 at 54 incidents. In 2016, there were 6,750 reported DAFW cases and by 2019 there were 8,140. 2020 shows a dip in the DAFW cases at 7,290 reported.

Current Demographics

According to the National Safety Council, most forklift-related injuries occur among workers aged 25-34, while fatalities are more common among those aged 55-64. Female workers accounted for 17.4% of DART cases and 9.6% of fatalities in recent years.

Forklift Incidents

Forklift Industry Overall

According to the BLS, females make up about 9.5% of all industrial truck operators. With that being said, the trends in gender and age correspond with the historical data of the industry overall.

Industries within Forklift Operation

In 2021-2022, the most common industry with reported fatalities is trade, transportation, and utilities with 36 reported incidents. The industry with the most DAFW reported cases is also trade, transportation, utilities with 9,540 reports. DART cases reach a high of 14,700 in the same industry.

Occupations within Forklift Operation

In 2021-2022, the most common occupation with reported fatal incidents was transportation and material moving with 38 reports from within that occupation. The most reported DAFW incidents are also from the transportation and material moving occupations with 9,540 incidents reported. DART has 16,050 cases in the same occupation.

Common Reports

Common types of injuries that occur include being struck by or caught between objects and falling from the forklift. These can be caused by a variety of things, but many of them occur due to improper speeds, unstable loads, and lack of training.

Improving forklift safety involves strict adherence to training protocols, regular maintenance checks, and promoting a culture of safety awareness among employees. Implementing these measures can significantly reduce the risk of forklift-related incidents in the workplace.

MHEDA offers resources that further promote forklift safety within your business. These resources include industry training and certification programs to ensure your employees are well-versed in forklift operations. MHEDA Members also offer various training resources, safety consultations, and more resources to implement effective and safe practices throughout the material handling industry. Regular maintenance of your forklift is crucial to stay ahead of any safety concerns. 

Check out our most recent National Forklift Safety Article for MHEDA forklift resources.

MHEDA Members: Many MHEDA Members are hosting special events, sales, consultations, and more in honor of National Forklift Day. Please reach out to with your initiatives during National Forklift Safety Day as we would love to promote your efforts.

National Safety Council. (2024, February 8). Work safety: Forklifts. Injury Facts.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.-a). Databases, tables & calculators by subject. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.-b). Employed persons by detailed occupation. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.-c). Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.