Today's Safety Sunday tip is: Guard against CO- the silent killer!
CO is the silent killer.
The toxic, undetectable gas is not visible and has no smell— making it extremely difficult to notice in the event of a leak.
There are many ways carbon monoxide can be brought into the workplace or even to our homes. Gas-powered generators, furnaces, boilers, and vehicles all produce carbon monoxide and quickly become dangerous if there isn't proper ventilation. At least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning every year, so we shouldn't overlook this important topic.
So, what should we do to avoid being trapped by the silent killer? Here are a few suggestions:
Install a battery-operated or battery backup CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home, in addition to alarming. Replace your CO detector every five years.
Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year. Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors. If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator, have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO. When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters' Laboratories. Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly toward the outdoors. This positioning prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren't fitted tightly. Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris and can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.
Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.
Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build-up of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal – red, gray, black, or white – gives off CO. Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper. Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent. When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home.