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An Evaluation of a Workplace Hazard: Carbon Monoxide
University of Central Florida,
Introduction to Industrial Hygiene
Tim Wallace, R.S
Primarily known as an asphixiant or chemical anoxiant. This means that the CO causes absence or abnormally low amounts of oxygen in the body
CO simply disrupts the oxygen transport to all tissues in the body.
CO combines with hemoglobin in blood to form carboxyhemoglobin (COHb)
Central Nervous System
Tissues with the highest oxygen need are first affected:
a. cardiovascular disease (heart disease, coronary artery disease)
b. pulmonary disease (asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis)
c. blood disorders (sickle cell anemia, lassemia, others)
Kiln and furnace operators
lawn care workers
disaster relief workers
parking garage attendants
OSHA PEL=50 ppm TWA
NIOSH REL=35 ppm TWA; 200 ppm ceiling
NIOSH IDLH=1,200 ppm
ACGIH TLV=25 ppm TWA
EPA NAAQS (Primary Standard) for outside air=9 ppm (TWA 8 hrs), =35 ppm (TWA 1 hr). This was established to protect public health (susceptible populations)
DFG MAK (Germany) TWA = 30 ppm PEAK = 60 ppm (30 min)
Japan (JSOH) TWA = 50 ppm
HSE OES (United Kingdom) TWA = 50 ppm STEL = 300 ppm
Reference: “TLVs and Other Occupational Exposure Values”
NRC (1987) EEGLs: 10 min = 1,500 ppm 30 min = 800 ppm 60 min = 400 ppm 24 hrs = 50 ppm
NRC = National Research Council
EEGL is Emergency Exposure Guidance Levels
Canadian IAQ Residential Exposure Guidelines: <11 ppm for 8 hrs, <25 ppm for 1hr (ASTER)
WHO Concentration of Concern is >30 ppm
My project was a simulation of lawn care worker.
8 hour work day (~ 6 hrs of mowing)
work equipment varied
some CO exposure expected
Mowed two properties.
One property was approximately 1 acre and was mowed with push mower
2nd property was about 2.5 acres and was mowed by riding mower
Question: Will CO Exposure exceed any standards or guidelines during a simulated average 8-hour work shift for an Lawn Care Worker?
There seems to be few published reports on this type of a study. Some reports focus on small gasoline engines used inside buildings where the CO is easily concentrated.
The momentary CO level measured during the start-up of the riding mower was elevated, however the duration of the exposure was short.
Graph of Data (available as handout)
Breaks and Lunch are distinct on data graph
Carbon Monoxide exposure is a serious health and safety hazard.
CO is especially a hazard in enclosed spaces
CO did not seem to be a serious hazard during normal mowing operations.
If CO levels were high and exceeded applicable TLVs, Control measures could be effectively instituted.
Injuries (overturned tractors, cuts, eye injuries, thrown debris)
UV radiation exposure
exposure to bioaerosols (mold spores, pollen) - a problem for asthmatics and allergy sufferers