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About Carbon Monoxide

     
         
  Protect Employees from Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning

All workplaces, including offices, banks, schools, restaurants, etc. should install Commercial CO Monitors to help protect employees, students and customers from carbon monoxide poisoning. The CO monitor should activate audible and visual alarm signals before the work area reaches the federal OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL), or the State's PEL or ceiling limit, whichever is more stringent.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has jurisdiction over all private sector workplaces and federal agencies. The OSHA PEL for carbon monoxide in the workplace is 50 ppm over an 8 hour TWA.

New York Public Employees Safety and Health (PESH) covers all state and local government workplaces in New York, including school districts. The PESH PEL for CO is 35 ppm over an 8 hour TWA, and the ceiling limit is 200 ppm.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) protects workers from health and safety hazards in almost every workplace in California. The Cal/OSHA PEL for CO is 25 ppm over an 8 hour TWA, and the ceiling limit is 200 ppm.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 720 is a residential installation standard that requires carbon monoxide alarms and detectors to be in compliance with ANSI/UL 2034, or with ANSI/UL 2075 and the sensitivity thresholds of UL 2034. Carbon monoxide detection for worker health and safety is not addressed in this standard.

ANSI/UL 2034 is a residential safety standard that requires CO alarm activation by 70 ppm within four hours, but does not permit a listed detector to automatically display the CO level or activate an alarm below 30 ppm for 30 days.

TWA is the time weighted average CO concentration. For Cal/OSHA and PESH compliance, the ceiling limit may not be exceeded at any time.

The New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) for Carbon Monoxide Detection in Commercial Buildings currently requires carbon monoxide alarms installed within existing commercial buildings to be listed in accordance with the UL 2034 residential standard, and either hardwired or powered solely by 10-year batteries.

Older adults, young children, pregnant women (and their unborn children), and persons with medical conditions may be more vulnerable to low CO levels (under 30 ppm), and should be considered when developing a carbon monoxide safety plan. Review these studies about the potential adverse health effects from chronic exposure to low CO levels:
National Institutes of Health
Environmental Protection Agency
University of California, Los Angeles
Rutgers University

Standard residential CO alarms listed to UL 2034 are not designed to monitor and display the duration of low CO levels detected, and typically include this disclosure in the user guide:
    "WARNING: This product is intended for use in ordinary indoor locations of family living units. It is not designed to measure compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), commercial or industrial standards."

Businesses should discuss with their insurance provider the potential liability of using a residential CO alarm in a workplace environment, when the manufacturer specifically warns that the product is not designed for the application.

Review this table for a complete listing of commercial and residential carbon monoxide safety regulations.

 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
         
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