James Schreiber is a forklift-video junkie. Over the years, the director of fleet operations and safety for San Francisco–based Building Materials Holding Corp. (BMHC) has seen them all. “I have a German video and it's the first day of an employee on the job, and everything that could go wrong goes wrong,” Schreiber says. “He runs over people, he skewers them with the forklift, and at the end he has a worker skewered on each fork and one of them is waving a chainsaw.” Needless to say, the video never made it out to BMHC locations for training purposes. Instead, the pro dealer has joined more than 3,000 National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) members by investing in the association's “The Forklift and You” operator training program.

Since its release in 1999, “The Forklift and You” video and training module have been responsible for training more than 100,000 lift truck operators at lumberyards across the country, attests NLBMDA executive vice president, Vicki Worden, who spearheaded the original program concept for the association. Developed by Ron and Sandee Koons of Middletown, Ind.–based RoSaKo Enterprises Safety Consultants, the 45-minute video and binder of written materials cover everything from maintenance and fueling to a range of operational training, including lifting, lowering, steering, and—of course—using seat belts.

“‘The Forklift and You' is exactly the kind of activity and program that an association should be providing for its members,” says Bill Pohl, general manager for Columbus, Ohio–based Princeton Delivery Systems, a NLBMDA Manufacturers and Services Council member that donated truck-mounted forklifts, equipment, and personnel for the video, which was shot on location at Home Lumber in New Haven, Ind. “OSHA has put a flag in the ground saying forklift safety and training is an imperative, and NLBMDA really took a leadership role in creating something that was focused to their membership.” In addition to help from Princeton, NLBMDA also received support from Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance, Lumber Mutual Insurance Co., Cargotec, Clark Material Handling Co., Hyster Co., Linde/Baker Material Handling Co., MSA Safety Works, Quality Corp., Manitex/Spyder, and Yale Material Handling Co.

Schreiber agrees. “Working with the NLBMDA, we don't have to go out and develop our own programs that are relevant to our industry, we get that benefit from our relationship with the association,” he says, adding that generic programs always seem more suited to warehouse employees and dock workers rather than pro dealers. In May, BMHC used the training program as part of its corporate “Forklift Safety Awareness Month,” ordering up new copies in both Spanish and English for BMHC business units to review the program with all of their lift truck operators.

According to Worden, the next step beyond the success of “The Forklift and You” is for the industry to continue working together on industry-specific training for the rest of its fleet activities. The association currently is working on two new programs, including a delivery- and fleet-safety program covering vehicles, load building, Department of Transportation issues, jobsite drop-off, and a “Your First Day Safety Program,” a video for new employees that includes coverage of some ergonomic injuries common to the industry. “NLBMDA intends to build on the success of ‘The Forklift and You' and create an overall industry safety program,” Worden says. “We are going to add to it one component at a time.”

The program costs $199 for members and $349 for non-members. To order copies of “The Forklift and You,” call NLBMDA at 800.634.8645 or visit www.dealer.org.