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February 13, 2013
OSHA reminds employers about carbon monoxide risks

With weeks of cold weather expected in many parts of the country, OSHA reminds employers to take precautions to protect workers from the potentially fatal effects of carbon monoxide exposure.

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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.

To reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the workplace, employers should install an effective ventilation system, avoid the use of fuel-burning equipment in enclosed spaces, use carbon monoxide detectors where the hazard is a concern, and take other precautions.

Recently a worker in a New England warehouse was found unconscious and seizing from carbon monoxide poisoning. Several other workers at the site also became sick. OSHA says all of the windows and doors were closed to conserve heat, there was no exhaustion ventilation in the facility, and high levels of carbon monoxide were measured at the site.

OSHA has published a Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet, which is available on the agency website, http://www.OSHA.gov. Search for “carbon monoxide.”

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