NCPA June 11, 2024

forklift illustrationToday is National Forklift Safety Day, honoring the 100 or so workers killed each year by forklifts and encouraging everyone to follow proper protocols in the warehouse or on the job site.

There are lots of names for the small truck invented in 1906 by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company including the hi-lo, the jitney, and the fork hoist. Initially used to move luggage in Altoona, Pa., the forklift got a lift during World War I by the Ipswich, England company Ransomes, Sims, & Jefferies, which created a line of small trucks that could move different kinds of material easily since man-power was focused largely on the front lines of Belgium, France, and Germany.

Today, forklift training in the U.S. is overseen by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (otherwise known as the more familiar acronym OSHA), and safety standards are maintained by the Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation. The American market is dominated by Toyota’s various forklifts, with a 25 percent share, followed by the distant second by the German multinational corporation KION. Image: public domain.