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Carbon monoxide poisoning related to the indoor use of propane-fueled forklifts in Colorado workplaces.
McCammon-JB; McKenzie-LE; Heinzmen-M
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1996 Mar; 11(3):192-198
Information pertaining to airborne carbon-monoxide (630080) (CO) levels and estimated exhaled CO concentrations in workers was presented for three sites where CO poisoning related to propane powered forklifts was reported in Colorado. Draeger dataloggers, which measured airborne CO, were attached to workers during a work shift. Preshift and postshift carboxyhemoglobin estimates were calculated by workers exhaling into a tube that was monitored by a Draeger datalogger. Case one occurred in a 52 year old employee of a wholesale beverage distributor (W1) where forklifts delivered pallets of beverages. Case two occurred in a 25 year old forklift driver at a sugar packing company (W2). Case three involved three workers at a metal distributor that used propane forklifts and heaters (W3). In all cases, employees were not trained concerning the hazards of CO and emissions were not monitored. Indoor CO levels reached 140 parts per million (ppm) at W1, 70ppm at W2, and 300ppm at W3. Exhaled CO in employees at W1 ranged from 17 and 65ppm (mean 42ppm) during a workshift. At W2, time weighted averages during and after forklift maintenance ranged from 8 to 17ppm (mean 13ppm). End exhaled CO concentrations were 8ppm. After forklift maintenance at W1, CO exposure was below Occupational Safety and Health Administration limits during the day, but rose at night because two forklifts were in operation. The use of propane fueled instead of gasoline fueled equipment did not solve the problem of CO emissions. The authors conclude that use of propane fueled equipment indoors must be accompanied by diligent equipment maintenance and CO testing.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Humans; Workplace-monitoring; Workplace-studies; Acute-exposure; Poison-gases; Industrial-gases; Air-sampling; Case-studies
Lyle E. McKenzie, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver, Colorado 80222-1530
Issue of Publication
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division