How Can Carbon Monoxide Affect Your Business?

February 9th, 2023

We know the dangers of carbon monoxide. The gas is around us all the time — in the air we breathe indoors and out — but it can be dangerous at high levels. Most people talk about the deadly gas in homes as a byproduct of burning fuel, but the reality is that carbon monoxide can be found anywhere – including your workplace. At OCCU-TEC, we specialize in workplace safety consulting and training. We are here to partner with businesses to ensure that all employees are in a safe environment, and that includes the air they breathe.

Top ways carbon monoxide can impact your business

  1. Reduced Efficiency - Carbon monoxide exposure can cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue in employees, reducing their ability to work due to the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. This reduced efficiency can interrupt your ongoing projects, or completely halt them if the exposure is widespread in your business.
  2. Poor Equipment Performance – Employees exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide can develop inhibiting symptoms. These symptoms can cause workers to improperly use equipment, causing malfunction or damage to sensitive equipment such as heavy machinery, computers or medical equipment.
  3. Increased Risk of Injury – Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause confusion and disorientation, making employees more likely to injure themselves or others. This leads to expensive workplace injury outcomes.
  4. Loss of Productivity - High levels of carbon monoxide can reduce the oxygen in the air, making it difficult for employees to breathe properly. Subsequent carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to an increase in absenteeism, causing a decrease in productivity and potential loss of income.
  5. Expensive Repairs - Carbon monoxide leaks can be difficult and costly to trace back to the source. Often the source is a result of damaged equipment that would likely require repair or replacement. These repairs and potential replacement can add additional operating costs to your business. Identifying the sources quickly and accurately can help limit these unexpected operating costs.  
  6. Loss of Customers – Consumers often make purchasing decisions based on a company’s workspace. If customers become suspicious that the workplace contains high levels of carbon monoxide, they may choose to take their business elsewhere.
  7. Legal Liability - Carbon monoxide leaks can lead to employees filing lawsuits due to health issues caused by the gas. These lawsuits can last a long time and cost companies thousands of dollars to address.

Taking the necessary steps to protect your business from potential impacts caused by carbon monoxide is essential for continuing to operate in a safe and profitable manner. Installing detectors, providing adequate ventilation and conducting workplace safety training should be top-of-mind for business owners.

For more information on the dangers of carbon monoxide, read our blog on the topic, or see this fact sheet from OSHA about carbon monoxide poisoning.

If your business has been affected by carbon monoxide exposure, our specialized team at OCCU-TEC is available to assess your situation and provide consulting and remediation services. Learn more about our unique approach on our website. 

Are carbon monoxide detectors required for businesses?

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many states, cities and counties have adopted legislation requiring businesses to install carbon monoxide detectors in commercial buildings such as office buildings, schools and hotels. The regulations can vary by state, so it is important to check with your local governing body to determine the requirements for installation of these detectors in your area.

How many carbon monoxide detectors do I need?

It is recommended to have at least one carbon monoxide detector installed on each level of the building, especially near any points where fuel-burning appliances or emission sources are located. Depending on the size of your building and HVAC design, you may need to install additional detectors. If you’re unsure how many carbon monoxide detectors to install in your business, it is best to consult with a professional for advice. Contact us today to learn more about our professional consulting services.

Where to place a carbon monoxide detector?

It is recommended that detectors be installed throughout each level of the building and typically within 10 feet of anything that burns fuel, such as a furnace, generator, water heater, stove. Additionally, make sure to place detectors near the garage and any attached living space, as well as rooms where people sleep. Do not place a carbon monoxide detector too close to an appliance that could interfere with its ability to properly detect the gas. Avoid locations such as air vents or in direct sunlight. With proper placement, you can ensure that your business is protected from the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you have any questions about your business’s carbon monoxide detectors or exposure, contact us today for help. Installing and maintaining these devices is key in preventing potential business impacts from carbon monoxide poisoning in the workplace or home.