Employers need to prevent CO exposure, OSHA advises

January 30, 2013

Washington – Following an incident in which carbon monoxide levels in a New England warehouse made several workers ill, OSHA is stressing that employers need to take steps this winter to protect workers from dangerous and fatal levels of the toxic gas.

During the winter months, employers are more likely to use fuel-burning equipment and tools – such as gas generators or welding equipment – in indoor spaces that have been sealed to keep out cold temperatures and wind. Such tight seals may lack adequate ventilation to expel CO (.pdf file), which fatally poisons workers every year, OSHA warns.

An effective ventilation system should be installed at worksites, OSHA advises, and employers should avoid using fuel-burning equipment in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Employers should use CO detectors in areas where CO exposure is a concern.