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Workplace Safety Trends in Construction: Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Julie Copeland

Posted by
CEO

We’ve said it before, but it’s important enough to repeat -- In the U.S., more than 800 construction workers die every year while on the job! Many of these deaths happen when workers breathe in harmful chemicals. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the number one cause of deaths caused by breathing in harmful chemicals.

This post emphasizes the importance of protecting against carbon monoxide poisoning. It is so dangerous because people can't smell, see or taste it, and it can kill within minutes. But luckily, there are safety measures you can take to prevent the poisoning!

OSHA released only one video regarding carbon monoxide safety, but it is surely enough to make its crucial point. In the Portable Gas-Powered Equipment video, two workers are framing and finishing the basement renovation of a two-story home. One worker uses a gasoline-powered wet saw to cut a hole in the concrete wall for a window, while the other marks lines for the next window to be cut.

The mistake? There is no fresh air coming into the basement because the newly cut window holes are sealed! The workers breathe in exhaust from the wet concrete saw, and this exhaust contains carbon monoxide.

The workers in the video die after three hours of being exposed to carbon monoxide without proper ventilation.

How do you prevent this gas from poisoning construction workers? OSHA states that any fuel-powered tool has the potential to incite carbon monoxide poisoning. This includes portable generators, space heaters such as salamanders, trowels and water pumps. In the video, the poisoning is prevented by replacing the gasoline-powered saw with a hydraulic or pneumatic concrete saw, which do not produce carbon monoxide. It is also imperative to make sure that an indoor construction zone has proper ventilation.

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Workplace safety cannot be compromised. At Arbill, we stand firm on our belief that following OSHA’s safety guidelines is essential not only to ensure workers’ comfort and efficiency, but also to preserve their lives.

If you found these videos helpful, check out OSHA’s website for four more on the equally important topics of “struck-by accidents” and “excavations” in construction!

Check back soon for educational workplace safety guidelines and videos on sprains and strains!

For information and videos on how to prevent sprains and strains in construction, check back later in the week or subscribe to the Arbill Blog In the meantime, be sure to check out our website for more information on workplace safety guidelines, solutions and programs or contact us to learn more about Arbill.

Topics: workplace safety

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