In 2021, the North American material handling industry exceeded 330,000 unit sales, an all-time record.
The exponential growth will require more operators in different settings, making operator safety training more important than ever before. The number of forklift operators in the US has risen to 4.5 million, and they – along with the pedestrians around them – deserve a safe work environment. To promote operator safety training, Toyota Material Handling is offering free site survey audits to recognize and support each operation’s unique needs.
“The operator is the most important component of a forklift. Training and investing in these individuals is paramount, even for the most seasoned operators,” said Tom Lego, Toyota Material Handling Brand Ambassador. “There is always something new in this industry because each setting is unique and different. We create great trucks for many different settings using the best technology, but we find that proper training and ample opportunities to hone the skills of these essential workers are the most important investments in forklift safety.”
National Forklift Safety Day, sponsored by the Industrial Truck Association, is an annual event that serves as the focal point for forklift manufacturers to educate customers, policymakers, and government officials about the safe use of forklifts and the importance of proper operator training.
With involvement in National Forklift Safety Day since the inaugural event in 2014, Toyota Material Handling continues to innovate with product features to help support operators. Toyota’s Smart Environment Sensor (SEnS) uses advanced technology that, in certain environments, can assist operators in identifying a pedestrian or object behind their forklift. If within a detectible range, a buzzer and four indicator lights will alert the operator that a pedestrian or object is within a certain range of the rear of the forklift.
Toyota’s revolutionary System of Active Stability (SAS)™ helps reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, minimizes the potential for product and equipment damage, and increases overall productivity levels. SAS senses various factors that lead to lateral instability and potential lateral overturn. When those conditions are detected, SAS instantly engages the Swing Lock Cylinder to stabilize the rear axle, changing the forklift’s stability footprint from triangular to rectangular. The resulting increase in stability reduces the likelihood of a lateral overturn.
These features, however, should not be viewed as a substitute for operator safety training.
“I appreciate that all those involved with National Forklift Safety Day are trying to move the whole industry forward,” Lego said. “Operators are the gears that keep products moving. Everything we use throughout a day has been moved by a forklift at some point in the supply chain, and it’s great to see this profession recognized and respected.”
Toyota Material Handling is committed to building a culture of safety today and every day. As part of this pledge to prioritize safety, Toyota dealers are helping their customers’ material handling fleet operators by offering free up-to-date safety audits, consultations, and training. Operator training is also available on request from any one of the more than 230 Toyota dealer locations in the US. TMH also created a resource library of forklift safety information that can be accessed by visiting ToyotaForklift.com/Forklift-Safety.
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