Dust: Tiny particles, Big problem…

Have you ever noticed how quickly dust starts to build up in your warehouse? Well, beware: that fine layer of dirt is a warning about a much bigger problem – and it’s one your lift truck is causing.

Dust is unpleasant to work with, and it damages stock – especially in industries where hygiene is important, like food. In others, like paper, dust is made during the process.

But the dust that settles on racking, stock and clothes is just part of the problem – because this is the dust you haven’t already breathed in.

Serious health risks

As well as discomfort and damage, dust can cause serious health problems for people who work with it every day. Problems like asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or even scarring.

To protect workers, most countries specify maximum dust concentrations that are allowed in the air. In the UK, it’s a total quantity about the size of a five pence piece, in a room ten feet square. In some industries – for example where there’s wood dust or building materials – the risk is especially serious.

Worryingly, most of the particles are much smaller than you can see with the naked eye, so it’s difficult to tell exactly how much dust is in the air at any one time.

Forklift engines: the cyclone effect

So, what has this got to do with forklift trucks?

Generally speaking, lift truck engines don’t create dust – an LPG engine with a three-way catalytic converter doesn’t even make soot. The problem is the way they spread it.