Carbon Monoxide Emissions Kill Forklift Operator

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on January 10, 2022

Forklift Expert WitnessThis case involves death from carbon monoxide emissions from a forklift. The decedent was working on a gas powered forklift at a warehouse for a large clothing distributor. He was working in a confined workspace with no external ventilation, however fans were recirculating the air inside the warehouse. He was working on getting a trailer loaded for shipment, but when his supervisor came to check on his progress, he was found dead. An external repair company that was contracted to maintain the facility’s fleet of vehicles had performed extensive work on the forklift shortly before the accident. The plaintiff alleges that the repair company had a duty to replace an old component that was causing a large amount of carbon monoxide to be emitted from the forklift during operation. The repair company knew the forklift was being used indoors, and that this particular type of forklift can emit a dangerous level of carbon monoxide if not properly maintained. An expert in carbon monoxide was sought to opine on the issue.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please discuss your experience in forklift maintenance.
  • 2. How do you ensure the safety of those who operate the forklifts?
  • 3. Do you have experience replacing worn carburetors?

Expert Witness Response E-000806

I have supervised the maintenance of forklifts to ensure safety compliance. To ensure the safety of employees in a setting such as this, fuel-based forklifts in an enclosed setting should be avoided to ensure that the risk of CO poisoning is decreased. This situation is unfortunate and could have been avoided. I have not performed maintenance on a forklift myself but have constructed maintenance policies.

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