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Mar 23, 2016
Improving Propane Forklift Safety
Clothing Company Eliminates Safety Risks Caused by Out-of-Gas Forklifts
Improving Propane Forklift Safety

The Company: A large clothing company has a distribution warehouse in 3 U.S. locations. It uses fleets of propane forklifts in each warehouse. One of these warehouses covers 100,000 square feet and operates between 6 to 12 forklifts at any given time.

The Problem: Forklift Driver Injury
In this 100,000 square foot (9,290 sq. meters) warehouse, a forklift ran out of gas when it was 300 yards (274 meters) from the propane cylinder exchange cabinet. The driver carried the empty tank weighing 29 lbs (13 kilos) back to the exchange cabinet. He grabbed a full cylinder that weighed 40lbs (18 kilos) and headed back to the stranded forklift. On the way, he experienced a serious back injury.

Statistics show that 1 out of 10 forklifts operating in the U.S. will be involved in an accident that causes injury.* This clothing company had experienced several incidents that resulted in an injury over a 5-year period. While the incidence of serious accidents was below average, the company wanted to explore new ways to increase the forklift safety even further.

The Approach
The company compiled a list of the common causes of forklift injuries. While evaluating warehouse design, training procedures and workplace safety regulations, they realized that several of their forklift drivers had actually been injured away from the forklift, while hauling heavy propane cylinders after the lift had run out of gas.

The Solution: MLD Low Propane Fuel Gauge
As the company looked for a solution to keep their forklifts from running out of gas, they found a lot of references that described how low propane fuel gauges were unreliable. Upon further investigation, they found the new MLD low propane fuel gauge from Rotarex SRG that was built using technology that had been proven reliable and accurate over time in hundreds of thousands of installations. So, in one warehouse, they equipped the entire fleet of forklifts with MLD as a proof of concept trial.

The Result: No LPG Forklift Ran Out of Gas and Corresponding Injuries Were Eliminated
Over a 1-year period, MLD operated reliably and no forklifts ran out of gas. Evidently, no injuries were reported as a result of a forklift running out of gas. Now, the company has installed the MLD low propane fuel gauge on all forklifts in each of its distribution warehouse centers.

The MLD low propane fuel gauge is new, patented technology that senses when a cylinder has approximately one half gallon of LPG remaining. The clothing company’s forklift drivers receive an alert on the dashboard that gives them twenty to thirty minutes advanced notice. This is enough time for them to complete a job and return safely to the cylinder exchange area.


Paul Delecourt
Paul Delecourt
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