Tips to Reduce Diesel Forklift Smoke Emission - feature image

Tips to Reduce Diesel Forklift Smoke Emission

How You Can Reduce Workplace Hazards Induced By Forklift Smoke Emissions 

Forklift smoke emissions are as hazardous as spilt chemicals at the workplace. It is something you do not want to have where you work. It can cause a lot of health problems. At the same time, it can also contribute to reduced work quality. Those are something, as a company, you do not wish to have. 

Why Reduce Forklift Fuel Emissions? 

Why Reduce Forklift Fuel Emissions
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The answer is pretty straightforward. By reducing forklift smoke emissions, you are reducing the harmfulness it contributes to your workplace and the environment. Forklifts come with internal combustion engines and are fueled by liquefied petroleum gas or diesel. These fuels emit harmful fumes and gasses that are proven to be unsafe to your health. 

Forklift fuel emissions largely affects health and the environment without a doubt. One of the most dangerous emissions is carbon monoxide (CO). It’s an odorless gas that can cause nearby people to have headaches and dizziness when inhaled. They will eventually get carbon monoxide poisoning, and will need immediate medical attention. If ignored, the problem will become fatal. 

Ways You Can Reduce Forklift Fuel Emissions 

Ways You Can Reduce Forklift Fuel Emissions
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As forklift fuel emissions can be deadly, here are some ways you can do to reduce the hazard. 

1. Install proper ventilation 

A confined work environment is one of the leading factors to harmful gasses being trapped in the space. Proper ventilation is needed for any gasses and air, harmful or not, to be aired out. 

If you have engines operating in the area, then higher levels of ventilation is needed. The average LPG forklift has a 60hp engine. However, it does not have an emission control catalyst. With such a powerful engine, you will need approximately 2.4m3/s (5000 cfm) of ventilation air. Ventilation on its own is not a cost effective way to reduce fuel emissions. 

The only downside to getting proper warehouse ventilation is that it’s very difficult to achieve even distribution airflow. It’s hard for companies and businesses to track every part of the warehouses if they are getting clean air circulation it needs. There will always be a higher concentration of CO emission. 

At the same time, there will be times when your forklifts are needed to work in confined spaces. Some of these spaces may not have much ventilation. Having said that, using ventilation as a way to lower fuel emissions should only be part of your strategy.

2. Catalytic converters 

Another way to reduce forklift emissions is to install catalytic converters. The converters can help reduce the carbon dioxide levels in raw exhaust gas. It does so by converting harmful emission gasses into less harmful emissions. Usually, it does so by changing carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxide into nitrogen, water vapor, and carbon dioxide. 

Though it may be less harmful gasses, it does not mean it is entirely harmless. There will still be some harmful elements in the converted gasses. It’s just that it is less harmful than the gasses before it was converted. 

3. Engine deposits cause black smoke 

Engines run perfectly with little to no problems when they are new. However, after a long time of being used, the engine conditions will deplete and become worst. Many times the engine gets accumulations of combustion in critical areas. Diesel engines are commonly prone to such issues. 

This is due to the fact that it: 

  • Has been running for a very long time
  • Diesel fuel does not come from refinery with special detergent packages already added 

One way to resolve this is to add a detergent additive to the diesel fuel regularly. It will help clean out the deposits and reduce the amount of fuel that is incompletely burned. It can also help extend the life of your DPF as less soot are produced at any given time. 

4. Service your forklift on time, if not regularly 

Regular forklift maintenance is imperative as it helps with forklift smoke emissions. It helps to reduce any harmful smoke emissions and prevent any damages to your forklift. When a forklift is maintained properly at optimal conditions, the smoke emission is said to be a lot less. 

Compare it to a forklift that has not been maintained well or regularly, you can see the stark difference between the two. Having said that, make sure your forklift is maintained properly and regularly. 

5. Change to battery forklifts 

This may not be a “be all, end all” solution to the forklift smoke emission problem. However, battery forklifts do not emit smoke as how a forklift that runs on gas does. Battery-powered forklift may replace the forklifts in the industry in the future potentially. 

There is a possibility that batteries with bigger power charging sizes will be released some time in the future. Having said that, that means there is a possibility that forklifts will run on batteries instead of gas and petrol. 


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Having said all of that, if your forklift is emitting harmful smoke, it’s time you have an inspection. Regular forklift checkup and maintenance is important for your forklift’s overall health. 

If you need any forklift inspection and maintenance, do not hesitate to contact us. We are willing to assist you should you need any help with your forklift.

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