The Threat of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Fall or Winter

By Ali Pyle on November 23, 2020 at 9:59am

The Center for Disease Control says that the most carbon monoxide poisoning occurs during the Fall and Winter. Home furnaces and heaters at home are usually responsible for most of the deaths that occur from CO poisoning. The Illinois Department of Labor warns that CO poisoning also happens on the job. 

Carbon monoxide occurs from the incomplete combustion of fuels such as natural gas, gasoline, propane, coal, or wood. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, one of the most common sources of CO exposure in the workplace is from internal combustion engines, such as running automobiles, forklifts or generators. 

IDOL Spokesperson Mike Matulis says that employers should try to avoid using gas -powered tools and engines if possible: “Employers should really make sure that they have ventilation systems in areas where carbon monoxide could be a concern. Likewise, they might actually even want to prohibit the use of gasoline powered tools and go with something that’s electric or battery powered if they have an area where it is a big concern. Some of the obvious signs are headache, early on possibly shortness of breath, eventually feeling nauseated, so workers should be aware of the signs. If they feel one of those signs, they should immediately get into fresh air.” 

Illinois Workplace Safety and Health consultants also recommend employers check or install CO monitors on a regular basis to avoid poor air quality. Proper maintenance on tools and vehicles can also stop CO from causing poisoning. For more information, visit the Laws & Rules section of IDOL’s website.