Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas
which 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.
Effects of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Symptoms of CO exposure
- Severe carbon monoxide poisoning causes neurological
damage, illness, coma and death.
Some Sources of Exposure
- Headaches, dizziness and drowsiness.
- Nausea, vomiting, tightness across the chest.
Preventing CO Exposure
- Portable generators/generators in buildings.
- Concrete cutting saws, compressors.
- Power trowels, floor buffers, space heaters.
- Welding, gasoline powered pumps.
- 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 which 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 or indoors.
- Consider using tools powered by electricity or compressed
air, if available.
- If you experience symptoms of CO poisoning get to
fresh air right away and seek immediate medical
For more complete information:
U.S. Department of Labor
Safety and Health
www.osha.gov (800) 321-OSHA