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2022 / 2023 Edition

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Spot the silent killer in the workplace

Carbon monoxide warning sign

Slingsby marketing director Lee Wright highlights the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning

ALTHOUGH the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) in the home are well publicized, the risks associated with the ‘silent killer’ in the workplace are often overlooked, according to a warning from workplace equipment suppliers Slingsby.

Slingsby supply more than 35,000 workplace products across all industries and the company is now stocking carbon monoxide alarms to help tackle the problem in the workplace.

CO is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and poisonous gas that occurs when faulty boilers, generators and other combustible appliances fail to properly burn carbon-based fuels.

Inhaling CO prevents the blood from carrying oxygen around the body and early symptoms of CO poisoning can be confused with food poisoning, viral infections and flu.

Headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, chest pains and tiredness are all common side effects and anyone exposed for a long period of time can fall unconscious and even die.

Slingsby’s marketing director, Lee Wright, explained: ‘CO is very difficult to detect because often people don’t realize they’re breathing it in, until it’s too late.

‘While many people are aware of the dangers associated with CO at home, where carbon monoxide detectors are commonplace, many don’t give it a second thought at work even though the alarms are cost-effective and easy to install.

‘The main causes of carbon monoxide poisoning in the workplace include poorly maintained and defective appliances combined with inadequate ventilation. Warning signs that indicate combustion problems in boilers and other appliances can include flames burning orange rather than blue, soot or brown staining, and pilot lights regularly going out.

‘In order to minimize the dangers, all boilers and fuel-burning appliances should be serviced at least once a year and any vents and exhaust outlets should be checked regularly for obstructions to ensure gases can escape.’

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