Safety Tip of the Week – Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas that interferes with the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. CO is non-irritating and can overcome persons without warning. Many people die from CO poisoning, usually while using gasoline powered tools and generators in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation.

Symptoms of CO Exposure:

  • Headaches, dizziness, and drowsiness; and
  • Nausea, vomiting, tightness across the chest.

Prevent CO Exposure:

  • Never use a generator indoors or in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces such as garages, crawl spaces, and basements. Opening windows and doors in an enclosed space may prevent CO buildup;
  • Make sure the generator has 3-4 feet of clear space on all sides and above it to ensure adequate ventilation;
  • Do not use a generator outdoors if placed near doors, windows, or vents what could allow CO to enter and build up in occupied spaces;
  • When using space heaters and stoves, ensure that they are in good working order to reduce CO buildup and never use in enclosed spaces and indoors;
  • Consider using tools powered by electricity or compressed air, if available; and
  • If you experience symptoms of CO poisoning, get to fresh air right away and seek immediate medical attention.
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