Scott Johnson, ITA Chairman of the Board, reflects on the history and future of NFSD.

National Forklift Safety Day in the News

By Josh Bond, Senior Editor · June 11, 2018

On the 5th annual National Forklift Safety Day, worker safety will take the spotlight in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), National Forklift Safety Day will bring together forklift manufacturers, dealers and operators with the common goal of highlighting the need for continued operator training to reduce accidents and downtime and the importance of operator training and daily equipment checks.

The event educates customers, policymakers and the administration on forklift operating safety practices. ITA has 23 regular members and 40 associate members, which collectively represent about 90% of the North American lift truck market.

Scott Johnson, ITA Chairman of the Board and vice president of sales and marketing for Clark Material Handling, is among the speakers at the event in Washington, and recently reflected on the history and future of NFSD.

“ITA really focuses on engineering and safety standards, policies and statistics, and we also support free and fair trade. I’m so proud of my industry peers, because while we are competitors on a day to day basis, when we come together under the ITA umbrella and talk about engineering and safety and statistics and fair trade, we are a united front. I’m so proud about how we conduct ourselves, and it’s a tribute to the leadership at ITA and its members.”

Johnson said the materials handling industry contributes $25 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), and has a broad impact on the workforce.

“I find this fact to be absolutely stunning: when a worker is hired in the industrial truck sector, 2.5 jobs are created in the wider North American economy. “So for every job one of our members adds, down the stream 2.5 jobs are created – and they’re good jobs, in purchasing, IT, sales, welders, assemblers. Our industry enjoys very diverse employment and well-paying jobs.”

In 2016, ITA renewed a a five-year alliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) “to provide ITA members and others in the transportation and general industries with information and resources to protect the safety and health of workers by reducing workplace incidents associated with the use of powered industrial trucks.”

Johnson said ITA members will continue to offer compliance training, working in conjunction with OSHA to train inspectors to better inspect lift trucks. Every year during thew week of NFSD, Clark reaches out to more than a dozen businesses in the community – whether they are Clark customers or not – to provide “train the trainer” programs at no charge.


“In the first year of NFSD, post-event media impressions were at about 20 million. Last year it was up to 60 million. I attribute that to partnering with manufacturing partners and other OEMs that have started local events across the country to create a sense of awareness in their communities, and that has scaled up immensely. Here at Clark, we host a day of forklift rodeos with courses for skilled riders and those who have never driven before. There is food and prizes, and it’s a nice day, but in conjunction with a nice day there is reinforcement that a trained operator is a safe operator.”

Johnson noted the importance of safety amid consecutive years of record-breaking forklift sales from 2015 to 2017.

“That tells me that the message of safety and the importance of a trained operator is as important as it’s ever been. With those levels of sales, there are more folks operating, and again, a trained operator is a safe operator. There’s a culture of safety we believe ITA has helped create, not single-handedly of course, that makes elementary tasks like daily operator checklists and inspections to be more widely accepted in the industry, and we’re very proud of that. We believe that through outreach with dealers and associations like MHI and MHEDA the message has been successfully cascaded and has had a positive impact on overall industry standards and safety.”

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