by Tina Olivero

    Enclosed Industrial Areas A Possible Death Trap?

    You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it. It’s a silent killer in the industrial and commercial workplace. What is it?

    That’s right, it’s Carbon Monoxide, and it’s a killer.

    The invisible killer, Carbon Monoxide (CO) in workplaces is produced by machines, engines, and appliances that burn carbon-based fuels such as natural gas, LPG, propane, diesel, and petrol. It is the most predominant toxic gas found within warehouses of industrial & commercial worksites like oil and gas support facilities, sports arenas, shipping/receiving areas, automotive repair, parking garages, and industrial fabrication facilities. It’s commonly detected in areas using fuel-powered; forklifts, ice cleaning machines, pumps, heaters, and other inside gas-fired equipment including cooking areas.

    Carbon monoxide poisoning is a huge threat to workers and is a dangerous poison so opening doors and windows or using large fans does not guarantee safety for your people. To complicate matters, CO is not the only silent killer; there’s also CO2 and NO2 emissions found in the workplace, which makes testing for CO, CO2, NO2 (which also contributes to a lack of Oxygen in the workplace imperative.

    Testing for silent gas emissions has to be a part of your company maintenance plan. Timely scheduled tests are the way to go. Any company that has machines powered by petroleum needs a plan to address maintenance by qualified professionals for indoor air monitoring.

    Most often it’s not equipment failure that’s the culprit of poisonous emissions but rather the lack of maintenance of equipment and machines. Think infrared bleacher heaters, hot water heaters and boilers, furnaces, dehumidifiers, forklifts, scissor or boom lifts, generators, idling vehicles, and other tools, equipment and machines in your workplace. If you have any of these emission producers on site, then you need professional gas detection services to mitigate your risk.

    Lee Parmiter of EnviroMed Detection Services in Paradise, NL says, “Because CO is colorless, odorless and tasteless, it isn’t detectable without the presence of detectors. If a forklift is running for a short time or left to idle, CO can build up and without warning, create problems for workers and equipment. Workers may show early symptoms of CO exposure such as; flu-like and non-specific: headache, nausea, dizziness, visual disturbances, and rapid breathing. If ignored, the worker could pass out and even die. Even low levels of CO can make people ill. We offer our clients worksite assessments to help assist in monitoring options & ensure your worker safety.”

    Lee says, “Take Forklifts as an example. The condition of your forklift and the quality of maintenance plays a large role in how much CO is emitted. Our technicians use certified testing equipment to determine the concentration of CO in an area where a forklift operates. We will then advise as to next action steps. If we recommend gas detectors should be available onsite, then we will follow up with a regular maintenance schedule as part of your everyday activities! Once to twice a year is normally suggested for calibrations with periodic bump testing conducted on a more frequent schedule specific to the applicable gas.” Gas detection requirements are something all employees need to be made aware of. Warning signs should be posted with no-idle zones identified. All employees should know the dangers of exposures to poisonous gases and be comfortable with reporting any potential or actual gas event. Monitoring and alarming to OH&S (occupational health & safety) guidelines is imperative with proper ventilation methods activated automatically by the detection equipment. All equipment and machinery must be maintained as per manufacture’s specifications. That’s the protocol for accurate, dependable gas detection/monitoring program to ensure keeping your workers safe and alive.

    Being aware of the potential dangerous emissions at work is critical, and understanding the death trap of an enclosed area is key to any company’s success and a family’s security. Contact EnviroMed Detection Services for a quick assessment and ensure your people are safe!

    For more information go to: www.EnviroMed.ca

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