Is Your Forklift Making Your Employees Sick?

ForkliftGas-powered foklifts consumed propane, gas or diesel and produce, exchange, Carbon Monoxide (CO). Because CO is odorless, colorless and tasteless, it isn’t detectable to you or your workers. What this means is that, if a forklift is running for a long time or left sitting idle in an area, CO can build up without being detected. Pretty soon, your workers might start showing the signs of the flu such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, rapid or labored breathing. If ignored, the employee could pass out and even die.

The severity and rapidity of the onset of these symptoms will depend on the amount of CO present (the concentration). Low levels with prolonged exposure can make your employees sick forward the end of their shift. Several days of this can produce lasting effects.

What to do to protect your employees

  1. Open bay doors often to allow fresh air into the warehouse.
  2. Install CO detectors to notify you when CO levels become elevated.
  3. Instruct your forklift drivers to turn off the forklift when it isn’t being used. Do not allow them to let them idle (all to often, they think that they are just going to hop off and hop right back on when they get absorbed in something or get called away and forget that the forklift is running).
  4. Use electric forklifts when possible in areas where CO might accumulate.
  5. Install and run exhaust fans.
  6. Keep forklift use to a minimum. Instruct warehouse personnel to use hand trucks instead of forklifts whenever possible.
  7. Make sure the gas-powered forklifts are tuned properly and on a regular basis to reduce the amount of CO they produce.

Being aware of the potential dangers of CO emissions in enclosed areas is an important step in helping avoid problems. Do a quick assessment of the areas where your forklifts run and determine a course of action to make sure your workers have no problem with CO poisoning.

CO Poisoning Claims Father and 7 Children

When the power company cut off his power because of past unpaid bills, Rodney Todd Sr. bought a generator. He couldn’t just let his seven children freeze to death. Temperatures were expected to drop into the low 20s that night in Princess Anne, Md.

That generator would claim his life as well as the lives of all seven of his children (five girls and two boys) who were living in the house with him.

So far, Delmarva Power has refused to confirm that they had cut the power to the house saying that the matter is still under investigation.

You can read the whole story here.

Unfortunately, this tragic story is not unique. It is estimated the some 400 people die each year from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. To keep yourself and those you love from being a part of this horrible statistic please educate yourself. A great place to start is our post that dates back to Jyly 2013 entitled “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Awareness Video

Electronics and Benzene Poisoning

As soon as the latest and greatest smart phone comes out millions of us rush to the store to purchase it. Americans have an insatiable need to technology, so much so that we never stop to consider what the cost of this “have to have” mentality is. I’m not talking about the dollar cost, I’m talking about the human cost.

Right now almost every piece of electronic that you and I use has been cleaned and treated with Benzene so, when you are using it you are exposing yourself to Benzene poisoning. Above and beyond that is the cost in human lives in the factories where these smart phones, tablets and laptops are assembled. Most of the electronics we purchase come from China where factory workers work from 8 AM to 11 PM with no time off, exposed all the while to high doses of Benzene, conditions that would never be allowed here in the USA.

Check out this video to understand the nature of the problem and what we can do about it:


E Cigarette liquid nicotine child poison hazards

E- Cigarette Child Poisoning Dangers

Electronic cigarettes are gaining popularity because they are marketed as a safer alternative to smoking. An increasing amount of children have been checking into the Texas Poison Center for electronic-cigarette poisoning .According to the poison center, 52 percent of the calls for e-cigarette exposure involved children under the age of five, from 2009 to 2013.E-cigarettes are battery-powered, and the liquid mixture inside the device contains nicotine.

But the Amarillo Poison Control Center says there are other dangers surrounding the device that parents should be aware of. Registered Nurse Cristie Johnston says a recent spike in phone calls, about e-cigarette poisonings, are causing concern. “In 2011, we had maybe 10 cases. But, last year we had over 100 cases reported, and those are just the ones we get calls about,” she said. The highly concentrated solution that goes into the electronic device is to blame. In many cases, children are drinking the liquid which can be very harmful.

The Poison Control Center says even just a small amount can lead to vomiting, sweating and seizures, which in some cases can lead to death. “It used to be that we were worried about cigarettes,” Johnston said. “One cigarette used to send a kid to a hospital and now it’s just a little bit of that concentrated liquid.”

With colorful casings and a variety of flavors, Johnston says the devices can be appealing to children, especially toddlers, who often put things in their mouths. “If they can walk, if they can crawl and they can pull up, they can get Of course, if you think your child has gotten a hold of your e-cigarette, contact Poison Control or call 9-1-1.into stuff,” she said. The best thing to do to protect your children, is lock up your e-cigarette when you are not using it.


Children are especially drawn to the colorful liquid refills, which are often candy-flavored. You can buy e-cigarettes that taste like chocolate, bubble gum and cotton candy, in addition to other tobacco flavors. It seems pretty easy for [children] to have, maybe, a couple of drops of the liquid refill and for them to die. Children don’t even have to swallow the liquid to be hurt by it. The nicotine in it can be easily absorbed through the skin. Little kids can get toxic just by getting some on their skin.


Today, there are a few hundred different brands of e-cigarettes on the market. The FDA does not regulate what’s in them. It’s not regulated what exactly is in there, and the ones that have been tested show some dangerous chemicals including anti-freeze. There now is large calling to install child safety caps for the refill bottles. E Cigarette users should to make sure refills and e-cigarettes are stored out of the reach of children at all times. It seems inevitable that a child somewhere in the United States will probably ingest quite a bit and get very sick.


Symptoms of severe nicotine exposure include a pale appearance, flushing, sweating, headache, dizziness, hyperactivity or restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, salivation and teary eyes. In very severe cases, the heart rate and blood pressure begin to drop to dangerously low levels and the patient can lapse into a coma, followed by difficulty breathing and even death.

When on the skin, nicotine in liquid form is easily absorbed. Even small amounts can cause irritation and a burning sensation.

Whether the child drank it or had skin contact, it is vital to immediately call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.If the liquid was swallowed, DO NOT induce vomiting. However, if there is skin contact, it is important to quickly wash the area thoroughly with mild soap and lots of water. And, to protect children from exposure in the first place, parents are urged to keep e-cigarettes and the solutions used to refill them far out of reach of children.

Information from Colleen Nelson Amarillo News channel 10 and Texas Panhandle Poison Control Center.

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau


Food Poisoning may have long term effects

Do you have stiff or aching joints that have been diagnosed as arthritis of unknown origin? If you’ve ever had food poisoning, even as a small child, you may be suffering from a form of joint damage known as “reactive arthritis” a result, as it happens, of the food poisoning.

When most of us think of food poisoning we think about vomitting and diarrhea that may last a few days; we believe that once the body has been “purged” the problems are gone. Medical research, however, is shedding light on a variety of health problems that are, in fact, the aftereffects of food poisoning. Food poisoning may have lingering, chronic effects on the body.

A list of possible long-term, chronic illnesses that may be caused by salmonella and other food poisoning viruses include urinary tract problems, ulcerative colitis, kidney failure, diabetes, Guillain-Barre syndrome, arthritis and eye damage.

Find out more about the lasting effects of food poisoning in the Scientific American article Food Poisoning’s Hidden Legacy

Top Ten Things to Watch for at Home # 4

4. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is the leading cause of accidental deaths in America.

According to

“This odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas is known as the “Silent Killer.” The Centers for Disease Control estimates that carbon monoxide poisoning claims nearly 500 lives, and causes more than 15,000 visits to hospital emergency departments annually.”

Where does CO come from?

  • Gas water heaters
  • Gas Heaters
  • Cars
  • Gas or propane Stoves
  • Fireplaces
  • Charcoal Grills
  • Cigarette Smoke
  • Spray Paint, solvents, degreasers and paint stripper
  • Any other gasoline or kerosene powered engine (Chain saws, lawnmowers, blowers, etc…)

The Fix

There is a simple and easy solution that can and will let you know when elevated CO levels are present in your home. Carbon Monoxide detectors look like smoke alarms and should be installed each level of the home.

Again, according to

“According to the National Fire Protection Association some 93% of homes have smoke alarms, yet the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that only 15% have carbon monoxide alarms. A carbon monoxide monitor with an audible alarm works much like a home smoke alarm and beeps loudly when the sensors detect carbon monoxide.”

Additional steps to take to protect against CO poisoining:

  • Keep your heating system and gas water heater in good working order. Have it cleaned and inspected by a professional once-a-year.
  • Have your chimney and flue cleaned every year as well. Also make sure that it is kept clear of debris, bird’s nests and other obstructions.
  • NEVER burn charcoal indoors, not even in the fireplace.
  • NEVER run gasoline powered equipment (including generators) indoors, not even in the garage with the doors open. CO can seep in and poison without you realizing it.

If you suspect CO poisoning (check out for a list of symptoms), get the person to the hospital immediately. There is no home remedy for CO poisoning (the only thing that you should do, prior to getting them to the hospital, is to get them into the open air, away for potential CO in order to keep the body from getting even more CO in the blood stream).


“Lead” the new “Asbestos”


Lead abatement has gone the way of asbestos abatement. Effective as of April 22 of this year, the EPA is now requiring certification of all contractors who work on homes that were built prior to 1978 because of potential lead paint issues.

This means that a whole lot of small businesses are going to have to fork out a lot of money and PPE if they are going to continue doing work on any and all older homes if that work has the potential of stirring up any paint that might have lead in it. That pretty much includes almost all renovation work both inside and out.

It also means that homeowners of older homes are potentially going to have to pay increased prices in order for the contractors to offset the cost of that certification. Even DIYers who go want to get a building permit in order to do renovations in their homes are going to be denied unless they can prove that they are going to be hiring a certified contractor.

If you need to find out more about what is and isn’t required before you start to work in your home or, as a contractor, because you start work in someone else’s home, you probably need to spend a little time on the lead in paint, dust and soil section of the EPA website at