The risk of forklift exhaust emissions

Workplace safety together with the awareness and risks of carbon has a greater focus in modern business practices today. Forklift emissions are a concern for many companies whose staff are required to operate a forklift in confined conditions, including factory units and warehouses.

Engine emissions such as carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) along with other exhaust pollutants can quickly become fatal, especially as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Exposure to these gasses or reduced oxygen levels impairs judgement and reflexes, causes dizziness, and increases fatigue leading to further serious hazards such as accidents and fatalities.

It is no secret that internal combustion release carbon emissions. The question is: can forklift exhaust emissions be controlled?

At Toyota Forklifts we are industry leaders in material handling and heavy lifting equipment. We hire and sell a wide range of electric forklifts and diesel-powered forklifts with extensive product, industry and application knowledge and experience our recommendation for lowering harmful carbon emission levels in your workplace is through a combination of precautions and following best practices. Fortunately, there are some ways to reduce carbon emissions. Our recommendations are listed below:

Internal Combustion Forklift Engines – Maintenance

  1. Catalytic Converters

A catalytic muffler, 3-way catalytic converter system, or a diesel particulate filter -II system (DPF), can be used to reduce CO in the raw exhaust gas. They convert harmful CO, hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) to less harmful emissions, namely nitrogen, water vapour and carbon dioxide.

Catalytic converters are recommended especially when engine-driven forklifts operate in well-ventilated, but semi-enclosed areas; when staff is working near exhaust fumes or when warehouse products are adversely affected by exhaust emissions.

  1. Ventilation

In enclosed spaces where ventilation is non-existent or poor, an electric forklift should be your only option. In more well-ventilated spaces, operations and staff proximity must be considered and planned for. It is essential to keep a good distance between employees and forklift exhausts. Forklift emissions should be diluted with room air and regular testing and monitoring of CO emissions are necessary to manage employee health and operational risks.

  1. Monitoring and Testing

The air needs to be monitored for CO at regular intervals. This can be done through ambient area and survey monitoring or using personal monitoring systems within the employee’s breathing zone. This could be in the form of personal electronic detectors.

Another approach is to test carbon monoxide emission frequently – especially for engine-driven forklifts that operate indoors. The engine CO emission should be less than 1%, if concentrations are higher than this it is time for an engine tune-up. It makes sense to do these regularly and these tests can be run in-house.

Forklift Training and Communication

All forklift operators and mechanics should receive forklift driver training on the risk of CO emissions and play their part in preventing poisonings. Employees and all those who work in proximity of forklifts should be trained. Ask us about our accredited forklift driver training which covers the health and safety risks that your forklift operators must be aware of.

Contact Us

As a division of CFAO Equipment SA,Toyota Forklift offers a complete solution for all material handling needs. With our diverse material handling and industrial equipment product and service offering, and experience across a wide range of industries and applications we pride ourselves in offering our customers tailor solutions and lifetime value.

Ask us for input and advice to find the right equipment to keep your environment and workers safe. Our flexible hiring options of forklifts in Gauteng, Cape Town and throughout South Africa include full maintenance at competitive prices – ensuring engines are in tune and running at optimal fuel.