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“Going by the numbers, our industry is long overdue for a product like this,” Terry Melvin, CEO of OE Attachments said.

The numbers he refers to are the statistics regarding forklift accidents and workplace safety. Per OSHA’s data, forklifts are responsible for one out of every six workplace accidents. 70% of those accidents are caused by human error that could have been avoided, such as incorrectly estimating the forklift’s load center or taking on a load that’s way over capacity, which can result in tipping. 67% of fatal accidents are due to vehicle tipping or being crushed between the forklift and the ground surface. “You can’t look at those stats and ignore them, especially when you know you have the resources to be part of the solution,” Melvin said. “Investing in the safety of your workforce is just good business, plain and simple.”

The investment—a multi-year process of research and development—led OE Attachments to create and develop the Forklift Safety Device (FLSD), which is currently a finalist for the MHI Innovation Award. Using a patented series of sensors and cameras, the device aims to prevent forklift-related accidents, injuries, and property damage by providing real-time monitoring and residual load capacity via a touchscreen monitor installed inside the forklift cab. “There’s never going to be situation where an operator has to guess if they can safely handle a load or not. Our technology removes the guesswork from the equation.”

This new technology put the Forklift Safety Device on the shortlist to win the 2019 MHI Innovation Award for “Best New Innovation,” which will be presented this year at ProMat in Chicago. After receiving over one hundred submissions, a panel of six judges from the material handling and supply chain industry narrowed them down to four finalists per category. The winner will be announced in April. “To even be nominated is an honor,” Melvin said. “It tells us that industry professionals see the value of this product.”

The Forklift Safety Device also gives auditory and visual alerts at all mast heights and positions whenever a safety hazard is imminent, which gives the operator ample time to take corrective action. In addition to displaying real-time residual load capacity, the Forklift Safety Device also offers:

  • Monitoring and response to external dynamic factors including acceleration, speed, ground slope, mast tilt, load center, and other conditions.

  • Enhanced visibility. Forklift camera provides additional sightline.

  • Video output provides vehicle status information to the operator.

“We’ve always taken pride in the quality of our products,” Melvin said, “but we take an equal amount of pride in protecting our workforce and that of our customers. We believe the Forklift Safety Device is a monumental step in the right direction in that regard.”