Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Dear <<Most Favored Employer Client>>:

Every year, workers die from carbon monoxide poisoning, usually while using fuel-burning equipment, tools, compressors and pumps, gas-powered forklifts, and other devices in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation.

Inhaled carbon monoxide is harmful because it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain and other vital organs of oxygen.

Large amounts of CO can cause loss of consciousness and suffocation with little warning

Initial symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea, and may include sudden chest pain in people with angina.

Employees most at risk of exposure to harmful levels of CO work in boiler rooms, warehouses, petroleum refineries, pulp and paper production, steel production, around docks, blast furnaces, or coke ovens; or in one of the following occupations:

  • Welder
  • Garage mechanic
  • Firefighter
  • Carbon-black maker
  • Organic chemical synthesizer
  • Metal oxide reducer
  • Longshore worker
  • Diesel engine operator
  • Forklift operator
  • Marine terminal worker
  • Toll booth or tunnel attendant
  • Customs inspector
  • Police officer
  • Taxi driver

Employers can reduce the chances of CO poisoning in the workplace, by taking the following actions:

  • Install an effective ventilation system that will remove CO from work areas.
  • Maintain equipment and appliances (e.g.,water heaters, space heaters, cooking ranges) that can produce CO in good working order to reduce CO formation.
  • Consider switching from gasoline-powered equipment to equipment powered by electricity, batteries, or compressed air if it can be used safely.
  • Prohibit the use of gasoline-powered engines or tools in poorly ventilated areas.
  • Provide personal CO monitors with audible alarms if potential exposure to CO exists.
  • Test air regularly in areas where CO may be present, including confined spaces. See Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.146.
  • Use a full-facepiece pressure-demand selfcontained breathing apparatus (SCBA) certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), or a combination full-facepiece pressure demand supplied-air respirator with auxiliary selfcontained air supply in areas with high CO concentrations, i.e., those with immediately dangerous to life and health atmospheres. (See 29 CFR 1910.134.)
  • Use respirators with appropriate canisters, in conjunction with personal CO monitoring, for short periods under certain circumstances where CO levels are not exceedingly high.
  • Educate workers about the sources and conditions that may result in CO poisoning as well as the symptoms and control of CO exposure.

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful:



We’re happy to discuss any of your workplace health needs, just give us a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx or email at workdocs@occmed.com

PS – Enjoy this “workplace” song – Every Breath you Take – Sting

End of tip

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