Health & Safety Watch: OSHA Launches CO Exposure Campaign

Because we are in the winter months and a lot of work is being performed indoors, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is urging employers to take all the necessary precautions to protect workers from carbon Monoxide (CO) emissions.

According to OSHA, workers die from CO exposure every year, usually while using fuel-burning equipment, tools or machinery in areas without adequate ventilation. Such equipment includes compressors, pumps, forklifts and delivery vehicles.

In order to combat CO poisoning, OSHA has introduced several useful online resources, including videos in English and Spanish, QuickCards in English and Spanish, a Portable Generator Safety Fact Sheet and a Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet.

Following are among the highlights of the CO Fact Sheet:

  • CO is a deadly gas that has no color, odor or taste.
  • CO is a common industrial hazard that results from the burning of fuels such as natural gas, oil, propane, coal, wood and other materials.
  • The most common source of CO is internal combustion engines.
  • CO displaces oxygen in the blood, depriving the heart, brain and other vital organs.
  • Initial symptoms of poisoning include headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and drowsiness.
  • CO poisoning can be reversed but only if caught in time. Permanent damage may still be caused.

To learn how to protect your workers from CO poisoning, please read the Fact Sheet linked above, and call your state OSHA or safety authority with any questions.