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What You Should Know About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Gasoline, diesel and LPG powered forklifts - like all internal combustion machines - exhaust carbon monoxide gas. In great enough concentrations it can cause sudden illness and even death. So what should you know about this colorless and ordorless gas?

Also known as CO, it is found in combustion fumes like those produced by automobiles, forklifts and other machinery,  gas stoves,  gas furnaces, and even in burning wood or charcoal. When CO from these sources builds up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces, people and animals can be poisoned by breathing it in. Red blood cells pick up CO quicker than they pick up oxygen. If there is a lot of CO in the air, the body may replace oxygen in the blood with CO. This blocks oxygen from getting into the body. CO poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other illnesses. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from carbon monoxide poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms.  

Symptoms may include:

· Headache · Dizziness · Weakness · Nausea · Visual Disturbance · Confusion · Chest pain · Unconsciousness

How to prevent CO poisoning from your forklift

The CO levels should be measured near the tailpipe and adjustments made to the throttle and fuel delivery system to ensure the cleanest possible burn. It’s especially important in the fall when machines are more likely to be operated indoors or with less ventilation.  

  • The exhaust system should be checked during regular planned maintenance intervals.  A small leak in the exhaust system can lead to a buildup of CO inside the building, especially in confined areas.
  • Avoid leaving the engine running when the vehicle is not in use.
  • Ensure that there is adequate ventilation to allow exhaust fumes to dissipate.

If you experience systems, get to fresh air as soon as possible and seek immediate medical attention.

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