June 11th is National Forklift Safety Day

Forklift Safety Day

National Forklift Safety Day

The forklift’s humble beginnings began as a “lift tractor” in the 1920s. Lift tractors were similar to modern-day farming tractors but used in manufacturing and factory settings. Due to World War II, developers were encouraged to innovate the technology, as businesses required more efficient operations with fewer workers.

Forklift accidents pose a major safety issue in Canada. The Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) reports that forklifts are involved in about 10% of workplace fatalities and 5% of serious injuries yearly. This equates to approximately one fatality and 400 serious injuries annually.

With the introduction of comprehensive forklift courses teaching safety and best practices, awareness around these machines has improved, but there’s always room for further improvement, especially in honour of National Forklift Safety Day.

Facts About Forklifts

Forklift-related jobs contribute billions of dollars annually to the Canadian economy through manufacturing, distribution, and service sectors. The forklift manufacturing, distribution, and utilization industry has been a critical part of the Canadian economy for over a century, with continuous advancements in technology and efficiency​. In 2023, it contributed USD 2.87 Billion to the economy and is expected to top out at over $4 billion by 2030.

The industrial truck sector directly employs thousands of workers in Canada. For each worker directly employed, an additional 1.5 jobs are supported in the broader economy, including roles in supply chains, maintenance, and logistics​.

Over 230,000 forklifts are sold annually in North America, reflecting the ongoing demand and importance of these machines in the manufacturing, warehousing, and retail​industries.

Forklift Safety Tips

Despite the advanced safety features of modern forklifts, accidents and injuries involving these machines still occur. As a result, some organizations may hesitate to expand their forklift fleets or invest in new forklifts due to concerns about liability risks and the safety of their workers.

Proper training and preventative care can prevent most forklift incidents. Here are some of our most important safety tips.

Always Inspect Your Forklift Before Use

Reputable forklift courses cover a pre-use inspection, as visual inspections are key to keeping your forklift in good condition. Doing this before each use can help identify issues before they become serious problems.

Maintain a Clear View of Your Surroundings

Always look in the direction you are travelling. If the load blocks your forward view, operate the equipment in reverse. Be mindful of other workers, always maintain an appropriate speed limit, and make eye contact with pedestrians to ensure safety. Effectively utilize side and rearview mirrors to maintain a 360° view.

The Stability Triangle

An essential component in forklift training, Forklifts have a core centre of gravity where the weight is evenly distributed with the load they carry. The “stability triangle” is a three-point suspension system that prevents the forklift from tipping over. Operators must adhere to the forklift’s specified load capacity to maintain stability and avoid dangerous tip-overs. Additionally, keeping the forks as low to the ground as possible enhances stability.

Do Not Overload Your Forklift

Overloading your forklift or having a load that’s not secured could result in disaster. A common mistake is forklift users not accounting for the additional weight from attachments, so they exceed the forklift’s counterweight. Doing so could lead to the back wheels rising, tipping over and causing injuries and damage. If the load is not balanced, stable and secure, this can also occur, or the load could fall off and cause injury to another worker.

Get Certified

Many forklift incidents occur because of improper training and knowledge. Proper forklift training provides the skills to operate this heavy machinery safely and helps maintain a safe work environment for everyone.

Forklift Maintenance

A breakdown or equipment malfunction can cause accidents on the job. Routine maintenance and complete annual inspections help prevent breakdowns and keep the forklift running as it should.

Participating in National Forklift Safety Day

Host a Team Meeting: Gather your team and refresh their skills and knowledge of forklift safety protocols.

Book a Forklift Course: Book a course to ensure your team is trained and certified in forklift operation.

Social Media: Share your National Forklift Safety Day photos with hashtags #NationalForkliftSafetyDay and #ForkliftSafety, and follow along to see what other industry leaders are doing!

Improve Your Workplace Safety With AIP’s Forklift Course

Enhance your safety skills and boost your career with our comprehensive Forklift Training Calgary course. Meeting all current CSA Standard Requirements, this course is designed for individuals without prior forklift experience and combines equal parts of hands-on practical training and classroom instruction. Upon completion, participants will be certified in the operation of powered industrial trucks, with certification valid for three years.

Our 8-hour course aims to develop a professional and cooperative attitude toward safe forklift operation. It covers key topics such as Labour Canada Regulations, safety checks, maneuvering techniques, and the stability triangle. Enroll in our forklift course today to ensure a safer work environment and gain the skills to become a professional forklift operator.