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Carbon Monoxide in the Service Department

December 09, 2014 by Eric Schmitz

Compliance with OSHA standards often includes awareness. For example, while carbon monoxide overexposure is unlikely to result in a fatality, exposure can still cause health problems. For instance, employees exposed to carbon monoxide may become slow of wit and brain, which often leads to accidents and have been known to perform an improper repair. A common complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is overexposure to carbon monoxide.

According to OSHA, the actual exposure limit is 50 parts per million (ppm) over an eight hour work day. This exposure level is seldom reached in the Service Department. Carbon monoxide displaces oxygen in the blood thereby depriving the brain and heart of oxygen. Exposure of a shorter period of time can cause headache, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, or confusion. Employees with lung or heart disease are more susceptible to CO poisoning, as are employees that smoke.

Carbon monoxide is produced by combustion engines and the employer is responsible to ensure that employees are not overexposed. If you have engines running inside without exhaust removal systems, the workers in the area may be overexposed.

Best Management Practice

  • Carbon monoxide is a hazardous gas that is created by combustion engines. Make sure your employees know this.
  • Place carbon monoxide warning signage in the work area.
  • If an exhaust removal system is present, insist that it be used.
  • Only run engines inside when necessary. Turn the engine off when retrieving parts.
  • If engines must be run and no exhaust system is present, open the door and use fans to limit the exposure.
  • Consider using carbon monoxide monitors with audible alarms on each wall in the service area.

o   Place the monitors at a height between standing up and leaning over an automobile.

o   Inspect the monitors monthly for proper function.

  • Maintain the monitors in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Posted in: Environmental Health and Safety Tags: Carbon, CO, Department, Monoxide, OSHA, Poison, Practices, Safety, Service, Worker