A forklift truck, also known as a forklift, lift truck, or fork truck, is used to lift and move materials within a warehouse or for the loading and unloading of goods from transport vehicles. Many forklifts are powered by internal combustion engines that use propane, natural gas, diesel, or other fossil fuels. These fuel-powered forklifts produce carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as a result of burning these fuels, and carbon monoxide is the most predominant toxic gas found within warehouses.
Significant levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in ambient air can cause headaches, fatigue, nausea, and even death in extreme cases. NOx, especially NO2, can cause respiratory discomfort. These harmful gases can be monitored in the forklift exhaust gas with a portable emissions analyzer. Lowering emissions and thus improving the ambient air quality will increase the comfort and safety of forklift operators as well as everyone else in the work environment.
Several organization have set 8-hour time-weight average carbon monoxide exposure limits to protect workers as follows:
|OSHA||8-hour TWA: 50 ppm|
|NIOSH||8-hour PEL- TWA: 35 ppm|
|ACGIH||8-hour TLV – TWA: 25 ppm|
The overall levels of CO in a warehouse is partially dependent on building ventilation, but the condition of a forklift and the quality of maintenance plays a large role in how much CO is emitted. When forklift engines aren’t properly tuned or maintained, they burn fuel less efficiently. This causes an increase in the amount of CO produced. Regularly serviced forklift engines will emit lower amounts of CO. Therefore, CO emissions testing is essential for combustible fuel-powered forklifts that are operating indoors in order to improve fuel efficiency and lower the resulting CO emissions.