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Workers Suffer Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from Forklift Emissions

Several warehouse workers in this Province were hospitalized recently suffering from the effects of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. The workers were in a warehouse operating and working around propane powered fork lift trucks, which appeared to be the source of the contaminant. While it is believed there was some natural ventilation through open doors, this is not a substitute for mechanical ventilation.

Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that is generated by gasoline and propane powered engines. Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause non-specific symptoms such as severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and drowsiness.

Recommended Preventative Measures

  • Employers should consider using alternatives to internal combustion engines inside where possible. ( ie. electric forklifts or hydraulic jacks).
  • When propane powered forklifts are used inside a building:
    • Owners must ensure, through regularly scheduled emission tests, that carbon monoxide levels emitted are within the Manufacturer’s recommended standard for that particular piece of equipment.
    • Carbon Monoxide monitors should be strategically located throughout the work area, including adjacent office areas.
    • A mechanical ventilation system should be appropriately designed, installed and maintained to control workplace contaminates.
    • Workers must be educated in the dangers and recognition of carbon monoxide poisoning.
 
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