Protecting Workers From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Every year, workers die from carbon monoxide poisoning. And with the arrival of colder weather, instances of exposure tend to increase. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the signs of carbon monoxide exposure and take the necessary precautions to protect employees from the serious, and potentially fatal, effects.

In the winter months, carbon monoxide exposure often happens as the result of using fuel-burning equipment and tools in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation – spaces that have been sealed tightly to block out cold temperatures and wind. However, sources of carbon monoxide can include anything that uses combustion to operate such as gas generators, power tools, compressors, pumps, welding equipment, space heaters and furnaces.

The effects of exposure can vary depending on the degree of exposure. Severe carbon monoxide poisoning can cause neurological damage, coma and death. Symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tightness across the chest

To reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning there are a number of things employers can do including: installing an effective ventilation system, avoiding the use of fuel-burning equipment in enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces, and using carbon monoxide detectors in areas where hazard is a concern.

To learn more about how to prevent and treat carbon monoxide exposure, call Chad Clippard, business liaison, at 573-331-3019.