Carbon monoxide poisoning is a hidden risk in a variety of Georgia workplaces.

Employees can be exposed to high, and harmful, levels in places such as warehouses, boiler rooms and blast furnaces. Carbon monoxide poisoning can affect everyone from a firefighter to a garage mechanic to a forklift operator to a customs inspector to a diesel-engine operator.

Carbon monoxide, if breathed in, can cause the brain, heart and other vital organs to become oxygen-starved. If the amount is high enough, someone can pass out in just minutes and suffocate. The first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning could include a sudden onset of fatigue, dizziness, headache or nausea. If a victim is caught in time, carbon monoxide poisoning can be reversed.

There are steps employers can take to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. They include:

  • Properly maintaining equipment that can produce carbon monoxide
  • Installing a ventilation system to remove carbon monoxide from workspaces
  • Using equipment that is run by electricity instead of gas
  • Giving employees personal carbon monoxide monitors
  • Regularly testing the air
  • Educating workers about the conditions that cause carbon monoxide poisoning

If you work in a place that could be susceptible to high levels of carbon monoxide, be alert to gas-powered engines being used in enclosed spaces. If you experience what you believe to be the onset of carbon monoxide poisoning – sudden drowsiness, dizziness or nausea – leave the area and report the condition at once. You could be saving your own life and that of your colleagues.

People who survive carbon monoxide poisoning still can suffer brain injuries, heart problems or tissue damage – lifetime conditions with lifetime medical costs. That’s why it is so important to be vigilant in the workplace, as well as to see if your company is taking the necessary precautions.