As a contractor, chances are you’ve worked at a site that didn’t have power and you utilized a portable generator. Storms, sleet, and tornadoes can cause power outages that require the use of generators. Ensuring safe generator use is crucial to keeping a site productive. Although generators supply the energy necessary to complete a job, they can also be hazardous.
Electricity in any form can be dangerous if workers do not take the proper precautions. To ensure worksite safety, it necessary to be aware of the risks associated with the use of a portable generator. If a generator is used improperly, there is a risk of loss of hearing, electrocution, fire, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
1. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Generators produce carbon monoxide as exhaust from using fuel for energy. This gas has no smell, no color, and is toxic. Due to carbon monoxide exhaust, generators should not be used indoors, near windows, or vents. To ensure a generator has proper ventilation, keep 3 to 4 feet of clear space on each side of it.
If anyone on site displays symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning they need to seek fresh air and medical attention right away.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Loss of consciousness
Generators cause quite a bit of noise as they operate. The noise can cause hearing loss or employees to miss verbal cues that could keep them safe. For those reasons, it’s important to keep generators at a distance from the main portion of the project site where work will be done. You may also want to provide hearing protection if the project site is too small for employees to work a safe distance from the generator.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.