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Does anyone have experience justifying the use of propane forklifts in a production environment?


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#1 clcapanni

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 03:53 PM

Hello! This is my first post and I apologize if I am in the wrong forum, I just wasn't sure where else to post this!

 

I have been in food safety management for my entire career and just started at a new startup company (in the US) that has a parent company overseas. The parent company uses propane forklifts in their warehouse and production areas so of course they ordered the same type for this facility prior to my arrival. I have advised our owner of the risks and he is admit that we are to continue using them because they do so overseas, so what is acceptable over there is acceptable here in his mind. I have reached out several times to their QA team to see what risk analysis was performed and any testing they may have done to prove there is no risk of cross contamination but I have heard nothing but crickets! 

 

Every facility I have worked for uses battery operated, as do all of my colleagues from other facilities.

 

I am in the process of getting our facility BRC certified so we have not had an auditor on site yet to smack us on the hand for using which I would like to prevent from happening. 

 

Does anyone have experience justifying the use of these in production environments? I would love to be able to say that the propane operated forklifts we use do not omit any fumes but they stink at times! We do have a very large open warehouse and production room and our owner is saying that is why we are allowed to use them but I would like to be able to test for something to prove this... I just don't know what to test for! I have sent excerpts from the CFR to try to help communicate why we shouldn't use them but it didn't help! 

 

Thank you in advance for any advice!      



#2 SQFconsultant

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 05:20 PM

Welcome ccmallow.

 

I think it would go under BRC heading.

 

"acceptable" over here - no, not really.

 

I can split our clients this way - 50% had propane and 50% had electric --- before run up to SQF certification - I assume it would be same for BRC.

 

Most switched over to electric and the handful that stayed with propane - two wrote a risk analysis, one of switch was in a company that only distributed canned food and one that was a company that cut and packed fish, lobster, seafood related sauces, etc. (exposed food) - 

 

The one for the canned food - the risk was super low, so they stayed propane, the other lost out and got gigged for odor, fumes, etc.

 

So, we basically have 95% electric now and 5% propane - but I imagine that will change to 100% by eoy due to a number of factors.

 

Bottomline - your boss is wrong, if their facility in the US is certified they have either gotten by by sheer luck, they were hiding them on audit days or have a propane system that consumes its own fumes - they do exist, but they are super expensive and unrealistic for most.

 

It will be difficult to get a risk analysis on this to pass if there is odor present.


Kind regards,

 

Glenn Oster
 
 
GOC GROUP / +1.800.793.7042 / Food - Food Packaging - Food Storage/DC

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#3 Charles.C

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 06:26 PM

Hello! This is my first post and I apologize if I am in the wrong forum, I just wasn't sure where else to post this!

 

I have been in food safety management for my entire career and just started at a new startup company (in the US) that has a parent company overseas. The parent company uses propane forklifts in their warehouse and production areas so of course they ordered the same type for this facility prior to my arrival. I have advised our owner of the risks and he is admit that we are to continue using them because they do so overseas, so what is acceptable over there is acceptable here in his mind. I have reached out several times to their QA team to see what risk analysis was performed and any testing they may have done to prove there is no risk of cross contamination but I have heard nothing but crickets! 

 

Every facility I have worked for uses battery operated, as do all of my colleagues from other facilities.

 

I am in the process of getting our facility BRC certified so we have not had an auditor on site yet to smack us on the hand for using which I would like to prevent from happening. 

 

Does anyone have experience justifying the use of these in production environments? I would love to be able to say that the propane operated forklifts we use do not omit any fumes but they stink at times! We do have a very large open warehouse and production room and our owner is saying that is why we are allowed to use them but I would like to be able to test for something to prove this... I just don't know what to test for! I have sent excerpts from the CFR to try to help communicate why we shouldn't use them but it didn't help! 

 

Thank you in advance for any advice!      

 

Also see -

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...al/#entry153968

https://www.ifsqn.co...eas/#entry92659

https://www.ifsqn.co...ifts/#entry4237


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#4 hacksalot

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 06:29 PM

We've used propane forklifts through 4 SQF audits and it was never even brought up by the auditor.  We're a low risk item and chances of contamination are low.  If your business is not going to switch over, I'd at least have a Risk Assessment in hand in case it's brought up.  If the auditor dings points, then they know what needs to be done.



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#5 Charles.C

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 06:33 PM

We've used propane forklifts through 4 SQF audits and it was never even brought up by the auditor.  We're a low risk item and chances of contamination are low.  If your business is not going to switch over, I'd at least have a Risk Assessment in hand in case it's brought up.  If the auditor dings points, then they know what needs to be done.

 

Assuming the middle link in Post3 is correct yr auditor(s) is apparently unaware of GFSI requirements.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#6 Fred73

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 08:28 PM

We also went trough several SQF audits and never was an issue the use of propane powered forklifts, we prepared a risk assessment with measures of gases done with the help of our EHS department and the auditors just reviewed once. It was in distributions centers so no open product here and was SQF 8.1. I have not seeing in SQF code any clause that mention "electric powered forklifts only" but I'm a SQF consultant not BRC or other standard so.



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#7 clcapanni

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 08:57 PM

We also went trough several SQF audits and never was an issue the use of propane powered forklifts, we prepared a risk assessment with measures of gases done with the help of our EHS department and the auditors just reviewed once. It was in distributions centers so no open product here and was SQF 8.1. I have not seeing in SQF code any clause that mention "electric powered forklifts only" but I'm a SQF consultant not BRC or other standard so.

Fred73 I am going to see where I can get with EHS, thank you! 

 

 

Thank you everyone for your comments!

 

Unfortunately I think our owner is going to have to learn the hard way and we will have to get dinged during an audit for it to change. Their facility overseas is BRC certified and I am guessing their forklifts have just been overlooked  :thumbdown:


Edited by ccmallow, 04 March 2020 - 08:58 PM.


#8 Charles.C

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Posted 04 March 2020 - 11:22 PM

Below attachment  is for SQF, I could not find any directly related comments in BRC8 or BRC's Guideline Material..

 

Attached File  forklift.PNG   88.79KB   2 downloads

 

I did find this (2018) FSIS-related comment -

 

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), for instance, recommends that forklifts in produce-packing and cooling operations be either electric or propane powered to avoid contaminating product. However, propane-powered engines are not entirely emissions-free. They produce at least carbon dioxide and water vapor, and sometimes give rise to carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen. Electric forklifts, meanwhile, do not release emissions, making them the favorite for most food-handling operations

 

Attached File  GFSI - forklift.pdf   161.27KB   3 downloads


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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