Are there ways to reduce the carbon monoxide output of our warehouse forklifts?

Q:

We have three forklifts operating in our warehouse. We make sure the space is well ventilated, but is there a way to reduce the amount of carbon monoxide emitted by the lift trucks themselves?

A:

Carbon monoxide poisoning in warehouses is more common than you might think. And since CO is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, it’s difficult to detect when high levels of it are present (learn 3 Ways to Manage Carbon Monoxide Risks at Loading Docks).

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to reduce CO emissions from your forklifts.

Tune up the Engines Regularly

Properly tuned engines will emit about 0.4% CO in the tailpipe exhaust, while poorly tuned ones will emit a lot more (up to 10%).

A study from Michigan OSHA found that over half of forklifts tested were emitting greater than 5% CO, which can be extremely dangerous for workers.

Engines should be tuned regularly, including measuring the CO emissions (which many technicians aren’t trained to do). You can control exhaust emissions by adjusting the air and fuel mixture and ensuring proper engine power and fuel consumption.

Use Catalytic Converters

Catalytic converters help reduce the amount of CO in exhaust gas by converting the harmful carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and nitrogen oxide emissions into less harmful nitrogen, water vapor, and carbon dioxide.

Always use three-way catalytic converters, They will reduce CO emissions by 70 to 90 percent.

And remember that this solution is not a substitute for ensuring that your engines are properly tuned.

Eliminate Combustion

The best course of action is to try to eliminate internal combustion forklifts altogether. Many warehouses are switching to electric vehicles, which solves the problem by removing the CO source.

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Written by Jessica Barrett
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Jessica is a freelance writer, editor, and communications consultant. After starting her career in the travel industry, she branched out on her own in 2016 and hasn't looked back since. Jessica is a regular contributor to several websites and works with numerous small businesses and NGOs around the world to craft content for both online and offline platforms. When she isn't writing, you might find her practicing yoga or adventuring (aka eating) her way through a new country.

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