What is CO?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood, and coal. It is only when fuel does not burn fully that excess CO is produced, which is poisonous. When the excess CO enters the body, it stops the blood from bringing oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs. CO is poisonous as you cannot see it, taste it or smell it but CO can kill quickly without warning. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics show every year around 15 people die from CO poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been correctly installed, maintained or those that are poorly ventilated. Although some levels that present do not kill but can cause serious harm to health if breathed in over a prolonged period. with extreme cases causing paralysis and brain damage because of prolonged exposure to CO. Therefore, understanding the danger of CO poisoning as well as educating the public to take appropriate precautions could inevitably reduce this risk.
Where is CO present and why is it dangerous?
CO is present in several different industries, such as manufacturing, electricity supply, coal and metal mining, food manufacturing, oil and gas, production of chemicals and petroleum refining to name a few.
The effects of CO poisoning, can include breathlessness, chest pain, seizures and loss of consciousness which may lead to death as well as physical problems that can occur, depending on how much CO is in the air. For example:
|CO volume (parts per million (ppm)||Physical Effects|
|200 ppm||Headache in 2–3 hours|
|400 ppm||Headache and nausea in 1–2 hours, life threatening within 3 hours.|
|800 ppm||Can cause seizures, severe headaches and vomiting in under an hour, unconsciousness within 2 hours.|
|1,500 ppm||Can cause dizziness, nausea, and unconsciousness in under 20 minutes; death within 1 hour|
|6,400 ppm||Can cause unconsciousness after two to three breaths: death within 15 minutes|
Around 10 to 15% of people who obtain serve CO poisoning go on to develop long-term complications. These include brain damage, vision and hearing loss, Parkinson’s disease, and coronary heart disease.
How does a CO Monitor help with safety and compliance and if so, what products are available?
Any operators who are working on commercial installations or domestic application in a home are required to be registered with a relevant association, i.e., Gas safe register, Heating equipment testing and approval scheme (HETAS) – solid fuel applications and Oil firing technical association (OFTEC) – oil appliances. Therefore, personal CO monitors offer the highest quality and portability CO gas detection to protect the operator at work.
Crowcon Clip SGD is designed for use in hazardous areas whilst offering reliable and durable fixed life span monitoring in a compact, lightweight and maintenance free device. Clip SGD has a 2-year life and is available for hydrogen sulphide (H2S), carbon monoxide (CO) or oxygen (O2). The Clip SDG personal gas detector is designed to withstand the harshest industrial working conditions and delivers industry leading alarm time, changeable alarm levels and event logging as well as user-friendly bump test and calibration solutions.
Crowcon Gasman with specialist CO sensor is a rugged, compact single gas detector, designed for use in the toughest environments. Its compact and lightweight design makes it the ideal choice for industrial gas detection. Weighing just 130g, it is extremely durable, with high impact resistance and dust/water ingress protection, loud 95 dB alarms, a vivid red/ blue visual warning, single-button control and an easy-to-read, backlit LCD display to ensure clear viewing of gas level readings, alarm conditions and battery life. Data and event logging are available as standard, and there is a built-in 30-day advance warning when calibration is due.