Weekly Tool Box Talk: Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas.  Large amounts of carbon monoxide can kill you in minutes.  The more carbon monoxide in the air, and the longer you are exposed to it, the greater the hazard.  The more carbon monoxide means less oxygen for you to breathe. The incomplete burning of any material containing carbon, such as wood, coal, gasoline, oil, propane, or natural gas produces the gas.  The most common source of exposure is the internal combustion engine.Any one or more of the following symptoms can signal carbon monoxide exposure: headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, tightness across the chest or flushed face. How can carbon monoxide poisoning be prevented?Install an effective ventilation system.Maintain equipment in good working order.Consider using battery-powered machines instead of internal combustion engines.Install carbon monoxide monitors where carbon monoxide is generated or used. Inform workers to:Report any condition which carbon monoxide may form or accumulate.If you get sick, report it immediately.If an employee is exposed to carbon monoxide, direct them to a fresh air area and contact physician. Remember physical activity increases the body’s need for oxygen, thus increasing the danger of poisoning.