Posted by Kahla Livelsberger in #YHSafetyTips, Jun 21, 2017
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. It comes from the incomplete burning of natural gas and other material containing carbon such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal, or wood. CO poisoning happens when you breath in too much Carbon Monoxide. There are many symptoms to look for: lightheadedness, confusion, headache, the spins, and any flu-like symptoms.
CO is very harmful to you because it takes the place of the oxygen in the blood and hurts the heart, brain, and other vital organs. If you take in large amounts of it within a few minutes it could cause you to lose consciousness and suffocate. CO poisoning can be reversed if it is caught in time, but if it has done too much damage it could kill you.
The following occupations can be exposed to Carbon Monoxide poisoning: Welder Garage, Mechanic, Firefighter, Carbon-Black Maker, Organic Chemical Synthesizer, Metal Oxide Reducer, Longshore Worker, Diesel Engine Operator, Forklift Operator, Marine Terminal Worker, Toll Booth or Tunnel Attendant, Customs Inspector, Police Officer, Taxi Driver, anyone that works in a Broiler Room, Brewery, Warehouse, Petroleum Refinery, Pulp and Paper Production, Steel Production, Around a Dock or Blast Oven.
How to help prevent CO poisoning in the workplace:
- Have effective ventilation
- Maintain equipment and appliances that product CO
- Consider switching from gas to electric, batteries, or compressed air
- Do not allow the use of gasoline powered engines or tools
- Provide personal CO monitors
- Test the air
- Educate workers on how to handle the event of a CO leak or poisoning
How employees can help:
- Report anything to managers that could cause a CO leak
- Be aware of ventilation problems
- Report complaints of dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea
- Tell your doctor if you think you have been exposed
If someone you know has been in contact with carbon monoxide or has CO poisoning you can do the following:
– Take the person to where there is fresh air
- Call 911
- Administer 100% oxygen using a tight-fitting mask
- If the person has stopped breathing, administer CPR
"The OSHA PEL is 50 parts per million (ppm). OSHA standards prohibit worker exposure to more than 50 parts of the gas per million parts of air averaged during an 8-hour time period." -OSHA
"The 8-hour PEL for CO in maritime operations is also 50 ppm. Maritime workers, however, must be removed from exposure if the CO concentration in the atmosphere exceeds 100 ppm. The peak CO level for employees engaged in Ro-Ro operations (Roll-on Roll-off operations during cargo loading and unloading) is 200 ppm" -OSHA
If you missed last weeks blog post on hand signals read it here. Next week our blog post will be on Allergy Safety.