Dos and Don

Dos and Don'ts to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning While Using a Portable Generator

How can employers protect employees from the dangers of carbon monoxide?

Portable generators are helpful in numerous environments, including rural worksites, construction projects and during winter months, when companies may experience power outages. But when workers find themselves needing to use a portable generator, there are precautions they and their employers should take to avoid illness or injury, especially when it comes to carbon monoxide.

From 2011 to 2021, 770 people died from carbon monoxide incidents involving generators, averaging out to about 77 per year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported.

So what steps can be taken to keep employees safe?

Do consider ventilation. Give the portable generator about three to four feet of clear space on all sides.

Do use monitors. Personal carbon monoxide monitors can be helpful for each employee. Employers can also install carbon monoxide alarms throughout buildings.

Don’t operate a generator inside. Keep portable generators outside. They should also be a minimum of 20 feet away from any entry point leading to an inside space (like a window).

Don’t skimp on education. Employees should know the hazards associated with portable generator use, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and what to do if they are exposed, OSHA said. Symptoms of potential poisoning include a headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, chest pain and passing out, per the CDC.

Employees using portable generators may also be exposed to additional hazards. To learn more about protecting employees from these hazards, like fire, electrocution or noise, read OSHA’s fact sheet.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

Download Center

  • Hand Safety Program

    Hand injuries are the #1 preventable industrial accident worldwide. In REThink Hand Safety, the most comprehensive book on hand safety, you'll learn how top companies have reduced hand injuries by up to 90% and what the most successful hand safety programs have in common. Get your free copy today.

  • Free 1-on-1 Consultations

    Get a free meeting with a Superior Glove hand safety expert and learn how to have less hand injuries, lower PPE costs, and increase worker productivity. 1-on-1 consultations provide you with personalized advice and recommendations for your specific needs and concerns.

  • Glove 101 Guide

    In this comprehensive guide, we've compiled all the key information you need to know about safety gloves to help you make informed decisions when choosing gloves for your workers. Whether you're new to the world of safety gloves or an experienced pro, this guide has something for everyone.

  • Sample Program

    Find the right safety gloves for your team and try before you buy—in just 3 easy steps! Simply add the products to your sample box, complete the request form, and wait for your samples to arrive at no cost to you.

  • Cut Protection Product Guide

    Find the right safety gloves for your workers to protect them from cut hazards. This guide offers a wide selection of gloves, including ultra-thin gloves with the industry’s maximum cut resistance for unbeatable dexterity and touch sensitivity.

  • Superior Glove

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - February March 2023

    February March 2023


      Does Real-Time Data Enhance Gas Detection Programs?
      Hearing Protection: The Dangers of Non-Compliance
      Personal Protective Equipment: The Pains of Staying Pain-Free
      Reframing Eyewear: Meeting Workforce Needs with Technology and Advancements
    View This Issue