December 3, 2004
Hazard alert - Carbon
The Department of
Government Services, Occupational Health and Safety Branch, is
reminding employers and employees of the dangers of working around
propane-powered forklifts in enclosed spaces after a recent serious
The department is issuing
a province-wide hazard alert and is recommending preventative tips to
reduce the risk of exposure to carbon monoxide while working around
this or similar types of equipment.
Two weeks ago, several
warehouse workers in this province were hospitalized suffering from
the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. The workers were operating
and working around propane-powered forklift trucks in a warehouse.
While it is believed there
was some natural ventilation through open doors, the Occupational
Health and Safety Branch is advising employers and employees that this
is not a substitute for mechanical ventilation.
"Employers need to be
aware of the requirements with respect to forklifts and
ventilation," Government Services Minister Dianne Whalen said.
"It�s important when operating these types of equipment that
the areas are properly ventilated and monitored and the equipment is
maintained in accordance with manufacturer�s specifications, which
includes regular inspections."
Carbon monoxide is
odourless, tasteless and colourless and is almost impossible to
detect. It essentially blocks the absorption of oxygen into the
bloodstream and therefore can be extremely hazardous or even fatal.
Further information is
available on the department Web site at www.gov.nl.ca/gs/ohs
Media contact: Tracy Barron, Communications, (709) 729-4860 or
Workers suffer carbon
monoxide poisoning from forklifts
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 forklift 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
odourless, colourless 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.
consider using alternatives to internal combustion engines inside
where possible. ( ie. electric forklifts or hydraulic jacks).
forklifts are used inside a building:
ensure, through regularly scheduled emission tests, that
carbon monoxide levels emitted are within the manufacturer�s
recommended standard for that particular piece of equipment.
monitors should be strategically located throughout the work
area, including adjacent office areas.
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
2004 12 03