Portable heating devices, such as this unit that burns propane, pose the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fires if not used properly.

Emergency Physicians Warn of CO Poisoning Dangers

This hazard is especially present during winter months when people use heaters and stoves indoors to stay warm.

Portable heaters that burn kerosene, propane, natural gas, or butane pose the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fires if not used properly, authorities warn. The American College of Emergency Physicians issued guidance Dec. 15 reminding Americans that CO poisoning cases are more common during winter months because people are using heaters and stoves indoors to stay warm.

"This colorless, odorless gas is deadly if you don't take precautionary steps or notice the symptoms," said Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of ACEP. "Thinking about it now and acting to prevent the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning may save your life and the lives of those around you."

According to ACEP, more than 400 deaths occur annually in the United States die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning and 20,000 additional people visit emergency departments, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The college says people should be alert to spot the potential signs of CO poisoning, which include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion

"If you get bad headaches or suffer from any of these symptoms, you may easily confuse them with the flu," said Schneider. "People should be concerned about the possible presence of carbon monoxide if more than one person living or working together develops these symptoms simultaneously over a short period of time."

Homeowners should install CO detectors on each level of the home, especially near sleeping areas. They should ensure gas appliances are properly vented and are installed or maintained by qualified professionals, ACEP advises.

The American College of Emergency Physicians Foundation offers safety tips about carbon monoxide, alcohol consumption during the holidays, and other hazards at this website.

Sylvane Inc. and others also offer guidance for safely using portable heaters.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch in 2019

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue