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Issued: July 2016,

Carbon Monoxide: New Regulatory Requirements July 1, 2016

The following is a summary of the recent legislative health and safety changes as they relate to Carbon Monoxide CO
in construction. Although a summary of the new requirements for CO is provided below, always refer to the most
recent version of O. Reg. 213/91 s. 47 and applicable amendments for concise details.
Summary Only: These requirements do not apply to combustion engines operated in a tunnel. No internal
combustion engine shall be operated in an excavation or in a building or other enclosed structure unless the following
conditions are met.
1. There is an adequate supply of air for combustion and all exhaust, gases, fumes, etc. are discharged to a point
far enough to ensure that they do not re-enter the work area or adequate ventilation is provided through
mechanical or natural means to prevent the accumulation of gases, fumes, etc.
2. Airborne concentrations of CO are tested to ensure that exposure limits as defined in O. Reg. 833/90 s. 4
(Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents) are not exceeded. All air quality testing must be
conducted by a competent worker in accordance with a written testing strategy, which shall be developed by the
employer in consultation with the joint health and safety committee or a health and safety representative, if any.

What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)?

CO is a product formed by the incomplete combustion of materials containing carbon. In construction, one of the
major sources of CO is engine exhaust. Carbon monoxide (CO) is called the silent killer because it is colorless,
odorless, tasteless and non-irritating. If the early signs of CO poisoning are ignored, a person may lose
consciousness and be unable to escape the danger. More people die from carbon monoxide exposure than any other
kind of poisoning. The Occupational Exposure Limit Time Weighted Average (TWA) for CO in construction is 25 ppm.

CO Exposure Symptoms
At low concentrations, CO exposure can cause shortage of breath, headache and dizziness. At higher
concentrations, CO exposure can lead to multiple symptoms including blurred vision, impaired hearing, loss of
consciousness, arrested breathing, and death.
NOTE: Air quality testing must be conducted using appropriate monitoring devices. Verify with the supplier
of these devices that they are appropriate for the use in a construction environment and not home use.


Consider switching from gasoline-powered to

electrical or battery powered equipment.
Equip engines with scrubbers where possible and
always have maintenance performed as required.
Ensure that adequate ventilation is provided to the
work area
Ensure that all mechanical ventilation equipment is
functioning as per manufacturers instructions or
engineering specifications

Limit running time and do not let engines idle.
Ensure that the appropriate CO monitors with
audible alarms are set in place
Ensure that CO monitors are calibrated and/or bump
tested as per manufacturers requirements
Ensure that CO monitors are used per
manufacturers instructions and written procedures
Ensure that all workers responsible for air quality
monitoring have been trained in the proper use and
calibration of CO monitors
Ensure that all workers are trained regarding the
symptoms of CO exposure
Ensure that all workers are trained regarding the
legal requirements associated with the operations of
motorized equipment in excavations, buildings or
enclosed structures

Obtain copies of the documents mentioned above.
Conduct Pre-Job meetings with applicable subcontractors
and as a minimum review the following:
Applicable legal requirements including O. Reg.
345/15, s.9.
Air quality testing procedures

At minimum, workers should be trained on the proper use
of motorized equipment including but not limited to the
Pre- use inspections
Sources of CO and symptoms of CO poisoning
Proper ventilation
Ensure calibration/bump test of air monitoring
device prior to use
Proper use and limits of air monitoring devices

Workplace inspections
The following minimum items should be reviewed during
workplace inspections:
Methods of ventilation
Air quality testing being carried out by a
competent worker as per written procedure

Creating Awareness
This information should be communicated via the JHSC,
safety meetings/ toolbox talks, and worker orientation

Ensure that appropriate supporting documentation is
readily available in the workplace including:
Operators manual
Equipment maintenance and inspection records
Written procedures for air quality testing
Records of training related to equipment
Records of training for supervisors and workers
conducting air quality testing

For any additional information, questions

or concerns please contact your TRH
Health and Safety Consultant or call the
TRH Office at 1 (800) 806-8444

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Toll Free: 1-800-806-8444

Issued: July 2016,

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