Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and non-irritating gas that can suffocate an exposed worker without warning. Carbon monoxide is toxic to the human body because the body's red blood cells will absorb CO in preference to oxygen. Exposure can result in a range of symptoms from headache all the way to nervous system impairment, coma and death.
Carbon monoxide is commonly produced by the incomplete combustion of organic products such as wood, oil, gasoline or propane used for powering engines and tools, and for heating appliances.
Part 36 - Chemical and Biological Substances of the Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Act and Regulation lays out necessary steps for ensuring CO does not exceed parts per million (ppm) thresholds in workplaces that generate the gas.
A risk assessment must be conducted and a safe work procedure must be developed by the employer and worker before working in areas where there is a potential for CO or other toxic gas exposure to the worker and others.
Check out our Shop Talk and safe work procedure template on carbon monoxide. (Below the FAQs are more resources related to carbon monoxide.)