The Importance of Ventilation

Following a carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning incident inside a warehouse, the source of the CO was traced to the exhaust fumes of a forklift.

When compared to another forklift, the CO readings were notably higher on the forklift involved. Maintenance records for the forklift indicated that it had been serviced the day before the incident. An examination found that the fuel mixture adjustment on the carburetor was closed.

Once this condition was remedied, the CO readings improved. However, even with the repair, the calculated runtime fell just under 15 minutes before the CO levels in the closed warehouse would exceed the acceptable level as set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). At a minimum, a CO monitor and alarm inside the warehouse would warn employees of elevated CO levels. If a forklift was to be used in the warehouse more than 15 minutes, then a means for fresh air intake and exhaust in the warehouse would be necessary.