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White Paper

Towards Improved Forklift Safety

Roger Bostelman, Manager Mobility and Manipulation Project Intelligent Systems Division Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory National Institute of Standards and Technology Department of Commerce Gaithersburg, MD 20899

October 16, 2009

1 Introduction There are over 1 million forklifts in operation in the United States with an estimated 2 million operators (6 million

including part time operators) [Chugh] and nearly 2,000 AGV’s in use in the US. material handling equipment for many industries. If used properly, they Unfortunately, they can also pose some safety risks to drivers, pedestrians, and

Forklifts are a necessary piece of can reduce employee injuries. other equipment and goods. This

White Paper summarizes presentations and Measurements to Improve Forklift Safety.” section.

discussions from the PerMIS 2009 Papers presented during this special

Special Session on session are listed in

“Performance the references

Attendees of this special session included:


Roger Bostelman, Mark Austin Benny Forsman Richard Ungerbuehler Mike Shneier Will Shackleford David McCartney Luke Fletcher Garrett Place Steve Ruth Tim Meyers


Organization NIST OHSA – Baltimore/Washington Office Danaher Motion/Kollmorgen SkyTrax, Inc. NIST NIST US Army Aberdeen Test Center Massachusetts Institute of Technology IFM Efector IFM Efector Toyota Material Handling

This paper is structured to first summarize information from special session papers presenting statistics and issues which define the forklift safety challenge. Following are current remedies presented and discussed during the session that can improve forklift safety. Last are discussions and recommendations to further improve forklift safety from the final discussion period of the special session. Some excerpts are copied directly from the papers and presentations from this session.

2 Forklift Safety Statistics and Issues

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    OSHA estimates that there are 110,000 accidents each year.

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      $135,000,000 immediate costs are incurred due to forklift accidents

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      Each year, an additional 94,750 injuries related to forklift accidents are reported

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      Approximately every 3 days, someone in the US is killed in a forklift related accident

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      Approximately 31,600 employees suffer some type of injury.

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      Losses affect employees through physical and mental suffering.

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      Almost 80% of forklift accidents involve a pedestrian

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