So, what’s all the fuss over carbon monoxide? I’ve just opened the door for years without a problem?

Carbon Monoxide poisoning is determined by three factors — concentration of the gas, ventilation and time. The severity of problems do not always correlate with the measured level of the toxic gas in the blood. Treatment requires clearing carbon monoxide from the system.

Carbon Monoxide has a cumulative effect and exposure may be a combination of sources. In addition to exhaust gas from vehicles, leaking furnaces and stoves, heaters, fireplaces and charcoal burners. Some products containing methylene chloride is another source. The chemical can be absorbed by the body and transformed into carbon monoxide.

Delayed effects appear in from 4 to 12 percent of people several weeks after exposure to mild or moderate levels of carbon monoxide. The aftereffects include difficulty concentrating, unsteady gait, tremors and mental impairment.

  • Exposure can produce bizarre behavior
  • Prolonged exposure to low concentrations can be just as dangerous as short exposure to high concentrations.
  • Approximately 10,000 Americans see a doctor or lose work time due to carbon monoxide poisoning. About 3,800 deaths occur yearly, 1,500 accidental and the remainder suicides.

Current OSHA rulings allow an acceptable time weighted average (TWA) for an eight hour work shift of 35 parts per million (ppm), with a workday ceiling level of 200 ppm. First time fines are as high as $5,000 and willful violations as high as $50,000OSHA safety guidelines for exhaust removal in automotive sevice centers include:

  • Provide exhaust hoses for each service bay and stock replacement hoses for immediate replacement of damaged hoses
  • Instruct all employees to alsways use proper exhaust hoses on all running vehicles and engines, even in warm weather when garage doors are open.
  • Check the operation of the exhaust removal system daily, and periodically ensure that the system is in compliance with OSHA regulations.

More OSHA information may be learned from 54 Federal Register, 232(1989), 20CFR Part 1910

The Uniform Building Code specifies in 1202.2.4 Group H,Division 4 Occupancies (Vehicle Repair Facilities), “Each engine repair stall shall be equipped with an exhaust pipe . . . shall mechanically exhaust 300 cubic feet per minute”

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer.