Operating a forklift truck in a confined space is extremely dangerous; they can generate poisonous fumes which are hard to detect. It is for this reason that the risks concerning forklift trucks and their flowing fumes should be fully understood and people should be made aware of them.
Diesel engines may well produce a white smoke which can be seen visually especially when it is cold. If you have for example forklift truck from the Doosan Diesel range and it is producing blue or black smoke this may indicate that the forklift truck requires some vital forklift maintenance.
Even if there is no colouring to the smoke though and it is almost invisible it doesn’t mean that you are totally safe unfortunately! The smoke will still contain carcinogenic substances. It is these substances which can cause more obvious health problems such as eye irritation or respiratory problems.
If you were on the other hand to use a Doosan LP Gas forklift then the LPG engines are another danger in regards to fumes; they produce carbon dioxide and water vapour. Forklift maintenance becomes so necessary; if the engine has not been properly serviced then toxic carbon monoxide may be produced.
Carbon dioxide is serious if excess levels are reached; it can cause death and unconsciousness. LPG forklift trucks need servicing by a person who is trained as a LPG engineer and they need servicing according to the manufacturers recommendations.
If you are worried about fumes which are released by a forklift truck then our advice from Ability Handling Ltd is to always ensure there is adequate ventilation. Obviously for any low intensity operations you may just need to open a few windows and this will be sufficient.
High intensity operations involving a forklift truck may require more ventilation in for form of fans or extraction equipment. A risk assessment will determine this for you so make sure one is carried out.