Jan 24, 2016
In today's podcast, I discuss how to keep yourself safe from
carbon monoxide poisoning while you work. This problem is
especially prevalent in the winter months when shops are sealed for
warmth. How can you know if you have an acceptable level of CO? And
what can you do if you don't?
What We Talked About
- The article by Mark Manley titled, “How Much Carbon Monoxide is
in Your Shop?” appeared in the California Blacksmithing Association
newsletter in December 2006 and originally in the Northern Rockies
Blacksmith Association Newsletter
- The article states that a properly adjusted propane forge
produces little to no carbon monoxide with proper ventilation. But
how do you know if yours is properly adjusted? And how do you know
if you have enough air flow?
- The author suggests purchasing a carbon monoxide alarm for
about $40. The unit plugs into the wall. It should have a digital
display that reads from 0-999 parts per million (ppm) and will
sound an 85-decibel alarm at 150 ppm.
- OSHA regulations state that 50 ppm is the maximum allowable CO
exposure for adults in an 8 hour period.
- Here are some general guidelines about CO exposure:
-200 ppm will cause a slight headache, fatigue, nausea and
dizziness at 2-3 hours of exposure
-400 ppm will cause headache, fatigue, dizziness and nausea
within 1-2 hours and is life threatening after 3 hours
-800 ppm will cause dizziness, nausea and convulsions within 45
minutes, unconsciousness within 2 hours and death in 2-3 hours
-1600 ppm causes death within 30 minutes
- When the author plugged his new detector in he was surprised to
find unsafe levels of 30-160 ppm over long periods of time.
- He was able to adjust the air-fuel ratio and ventilation and it
went down to 0 ppm.
- He suggests everyone (whether using propane or coal) monitor
their shops at all times and make these small adjustments for