How to Reduce Forklift Fuel Emissions


Forklift fuel emissions can be a serious health issue for companies whose employees need to work in confined or enclosed spaces such as warehouses or factory units.

The exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and other exhaust pollutants can be very dangerous to your employees' health as well as damaging to the environment. Taking every possible precaution to help lower forklift fuel emissions is important for any company using forklifts.

If you want to replace your high emissions forklifts with more efficient and environmentally friendly versions, contact the forklift experts at Wayco. You can trust Wayco to help you select the best new or used lifting devices for your application and budget.


Why Should You Reduce Forklift Fuel Emissions

Forklift fuel emissions can be harmful not only to the environment, but to you and your workers. Forklifts that have internal combustion engines and are fuelled by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or diesel give off harmful fumes and gases.

One of the most dangerous of these emission is carbon monoxide (CO). This odourless gas can cause your workers to have headaches, dizziness, and eventually carbon monoxide poisoning, which requires immediate medical attention or it can be fatal.

According to the A.C.T. Workcover Guide to Forklift Safety, a working forklift with a 1.8 litre LPG engine operating in an un-ventilated 60,000 cubic metre warehouse (10m x 60m x 100m) could take just 30 minutes to exceed exposure standards for carbon monoxide.


Keep your workers safe by reducing forklift fuel emissions


How to Reduce Forklift Fuel Emissions

There isn’t one single solution to effectively lowering forklift fuel emissions. It takes a combination of precautions and best practices to achieve this. The following is a list of the things that you can do to help lower harmful emission levels in your workplace.

Install Proper Ventilation

If you are working in a confined work environment, proper ventilation is a necessity. If there are engines operating in that area, then even higher levels of ventilation are necessary.

According to NETT Technologies Inc., an LPG forklift that has a 60 hp engine but doesn't have an emission control catalyst, needs about 2.4 m3/s (5000 cfm) of ventilation air. However, ventilation on its own is not a cost effective way to cut down on forklift fuel emissions.


It is very difficult to get an even air flow to every part
of your warehouse


If you need to heat your warehouse, having enough ventilation to keep your premises at a safe working level will mean that you will be losing an incredible amount of heat. The cost to replace the lost heat will make a huge cut into your bottom line.

Another difficulty when trying to get proper ventilation is that it is extremely difficult to achieve an even distribution of airflow. It is hard to make sure that every part of your warehouse is getting the clean air circulation required; there are always areas where higher concentrations of CO will accumulate.

In addition, there are often times when your forklifts are required to work in extremely confined spaces - places where it's almost impossible to get proper ventilation such as inside a large transport truck. Therefore, using ventilation as a means of lowering forklift fuel emissions should only be a part of your strategy - not your entire strategy.


Ensuring that your engines are optimally tuned up is invaluable for helping reduce carbon monoxide emissions


Ensure Regular Maintenance and Service Is Done on Your Forklifts

Schedule Regular Maintenance: In combination with having proper ventilation, regular maintenance and servicing of your forklifts is extremely important.

Making sure that your engines are optimally tuned up is invaluable for helping reduce carbon monoxide emissions from LPG engines.

You should put into place a regular maintenance program that includes final engine tuning through carbon monoxide analysis of exhaust gases.

Perform Carbon Monoxide Emission Testing: Performing regular carbon monoxide emission testing on your forklifts will let you know when they need a tune-up and will help you lower harmful emissions.

The CO concentration level of your forklifts should be 1% or less. If the CO level is greater than 1% your forklift should get a tune-up.

Install Catalytic Converters: You can reduce harmful forklift fuel emissions even further by installing catalytic converters on your lift trucks. A catalytic converter can help reduce the CO levels in the raw exhaust gas. It does this by converting the harmful emission gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxide into less harmful emissions such as nitrogen, water vapor and carbon dioxide.


A cold engine emits more CO, so start your forklift up
outside when possible


Adopt Forklift Fuel Emissions Best Driving Practices

There are a couple of best driving practices that you could encourage your staff to adopt to help lower forklift fuel emissions in your workplace. They include:

Starting Your Engine Outside: If possible, start up your forklift outside and let it warm up slightly before entering an enclosed area like a warehouse. A cold engine gives off a much larger amount of CO emissions when it is first starting up than it does once it has warmed up.

Turning off Your Engine When Not in Use: If you are going to be sitting idle for more than 10 seconds at a time, perhaps you have to wait for other forklifts or pedestrians to clear an area before you can enter. If that’s the case, turn off your engine while you are waiting. An idling forklift wastes fuel and produces a large amount of harmful CO emissions.


Turn off your engine if you are going to be idle for more
than 10 seconds to reduce emissions


Switch to Electric Forklifts

Electric forklifts do not give off harmful exhaust emissions. If you are in the market to replace or purchase additional forklifts for your business, choosing electric over LPG or diesel is your best choice, especially if you are going to be using them indoors or in enclosed spaces.

Internal combustion engine forklifts that run on diesel or propane do, however, still have their place in the industry as they are more powerful than electric ones and are better for outside and rugged applications.

Buying Quality Used Forklifts to Replace a High Emissions Model

If buying new equipment is out of your budget, but you are still concerned about high emission levels at your workplace, purchasing high-quality used electric forklifts may be a good solution for you. Wayco has a great selection of quality used forklifts for sale for you to choose from.

Rent-to-Own or Lease Electric Forklifts

Another great cost-cutting solution that you could consider if you don't have the extra capital to purchase brand new forklift equipment is rent-to-own or leasing. Both these options mean that you will only have a lower monthly payment to make instead of a large capital initial investment.


Wayco: For Quality New & Used Forklifts as Well as Safety Training

If you are looking for top quality new or used forklifts, contact WaycoWe sell the best forklifts you can buy and our knowledgeable staff will be able to help you choose the perfect model that will best suit your particular applications.

We will be happy to answer all of your questions and we can even provide top-notch safety training for your operators. Contact Wayco today for all of your forklift needs.

Wayco's intense and comprehensive forklift safety training program will provide you and your employees with the best safety training at the best price. This thorough program has a 98% pass rate. We can train individuals or groups at our facility or yours - you choose.

Our Safe Operation of a Lift Truck/Forklift Program is an excellent way for you to ensure forklift safety in your workplace. With our training you will experience:

  • Innovative training practices

  • Affordable pricing

  • Flexible and professional trainers

  • Comprehensive in-class and practical experience

Contact Wayco today to book your next session.

"I really recommend to get your lift license here. One of the best courses I've taken in my life, they make sure everything's done the safest ways step by step so you can walk out ready for the job. Angela is the best teacher, very funny but makes sure all precautions are taken. Excellent place to get your forklift or scissor license in Kitchener Waterloo."

- Miguel Maza

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