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Risk of the month

Carbon monoxide and using forklifts

Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly poisonous gas that can quickly build up when using forklifts powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), petrol and diesel indoors without enough ventilation.

Breathing in carbon monoxide can make workers unwell, or can even kill. A headache is the most common symptom of mild carbon monoxide poisoning. Other symptoms include:

  • dizziness
  • nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting
  • tiredness and confusion
  • stomach pain
  • shortness of breath and difficulty breathing

Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide gas can also damage an unborn child.

Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) that use fuel powered forklifts in their work, or that hire or sell (supply) such forklifts, must manage the health and safety risks that arise from exposure to carbon monoxide.

WorkSafe has recently updated two fact sheets to help keep workers safe when using forklifts:

Forklifts and Carbon Monoxide is a fact sheet for PCBUs that use fuel powered forklifts. It explains the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to keep workers healthy and safe, including workplace exposure monitoring and worker health monitoring.

Suppliers of Forklifts – Risk of Carbon Monoxide is a fact sheet for PCBUs that hire or sell (supply) forklifts. It explains their health and safety duties including what information they need to provide to customers.

Last updated 27 September 2016

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