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Toolbox talk on carbon monoxide.

carbon monoxide toolbox talk

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless and tasteless gas formed by the incomplete combustion of fuel. 

However, as dangerous as it can be, it can kill very fast. 

It usually displaces oxygen in human bodies and causes people to asphyxiate to death.

Which activities can generate CO in the workplace?

  • Incomplete burning of fuel. Fuels such as gasoline, wood, diesel, etc.
  • Tobacco smoke from 
  • Boilers
  • Water heaters
  • Incomplete burning of fuel from combustion engines through exhaust pipes.

Most times, when there is less oxygen to breathe with, there will be more CO to contend with.

People are at greater risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Young people.
  • Elderly.
  • Children
  • Persons with severe cases of respiratory conditions like asthma.
  • People with sickle cell conditions.
  • Persons with cardiovascular diseases. 
  • Unborn babies

How does carbon monoxide poisoning happen?

The CO builds up in the bloodstream and replaces the oxygen in the red blood cells resulting in CO poisoning.   

Symptoms of CO poisoning.

  • Blurred vision.
  • Weakness.
  • Confusion.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Headache.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nausea.
  • loss of consciousness.

Carbon monoxide: what can you do to promote CO safety?

  • Do not use fuel-operated equipment when not in order. Always use the right equipment. 
  • Report all cases of carbon monoxide accumulation on-site and make a report on it immediately. 
  • Ensure to install a CO alarm in places where CO risk is high. 
  • Do not ignore the Carbon monoxide alarm. Your response may be a thin line between life and death. 
  • Learn to identify the symptoms of CO poisoning. It’ll help you to escape to safety.
  • Seek medical help immediately when you notice any of the symptoms of CO poisoning.
  • If there is a fireplace in your workplace, ensure to keep it in good order. 

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