The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a trade release
urging employers to take necessary precautions to protect workers from the serious and potentially fatal effects of carbon monoxide exposure.
OSHA said that recent incidents highlight the need to remind employers and employees about the dangers of carbon monoxide exposure from portable generators and other equipment in enclosed spaces. NAHB also recently published a resource on worker safety in confined spaces
Every year, carbon monoxide poisoning claims the lives of employees nationwide, usually when fuel-burning equipment and tools are used in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation. The danger increases during the winter months when this type of equipment is used in indoor areas that have been sealed tightly to block out cold temperatures and wind.
In addition to portable generators and space heaters, sources of carbon monoxide can include anything that uses combustion to operate, such as power tools, compressors, pumps, welding equipment, furnaces, gas-powered forklifts and motorized vehicles.
To reduce the risk of carbon monoxide exposure in the workplace, employers should install an effective ventilation system, avoid the use of fuel-burning equipment and vehicles in enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces, and use carbon monoxide detectors in areas where the hazard may exist.
NAHB recently published a Video Toolbox Talk on safety while working in confined spaces. The video and accompanying fact sheet cover the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in addition to other hazards faced when working in confined spaces.
Watch the video below and visit the toolbox
for additional resources in English and Spanish.
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