Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a dangerous and sometimes fatal gas that many workers can be exposed to. This dangerous gas displaces oxygen in your blood stream, depriving your brain, heart and other major organs of the oxygen they need. Because it is colorless and odorless, it is virtually undetectable without the use of an alarm.
Some of the most common producers of CO are internal combustion engines, portable generators, concrete cutting saws, space heaters, vehicles, forklifts, industrial equipment, and some appliances. The symptoms of CO poisoning are tightness across the chest, headache, fatigue, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, and rapid breathing. If prolonged exposure occurs, symptoms will worsen and can lead to vomiting, muscle weakness and loss of consciousness. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide, immediately move to an area with fresh air. If symptoms are severe, call 911 and administer 100% oxygen to the victim. Perform CPR if necessary. Do not attempt a rescue in an area where CO levels are dangerously high unless you are trained to do so and use a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
To prevent CO from building up in your workplace, follow these safety tips:
- Install and maintain an effective ventilation system
- Install CO monitors with auditory alarms
- Prohibit the use of gas-powered equipment and tools in poorly ventilated areas
- Use equipment powered by electricity or compressed air whenever possible
- Never use a generator indoors
- Ensure equipment, space heaters and the like are in proper working condition
- Train workers on the sources and conditions in which CO is likely to be encountered, how to control those situations, the symptoms of CO poisoning, and how to respond to a suspected CO poisoning emergency.
This information is provided as a service to you by Compliance Consultants, Inc.