By: Kari Fisher
Making your list and checking it twice? Don’t over look a good carbon monoxide detector or smoke detector for the truck and while you’re at it, pick up a set for the house.
Every year, 170 people die in the United States from CO poisoning and thousands are treated in the emergency room. Sadly, we don’t have any stats for truck drivers who die in their trucks, usually the cause of death is listed as a heart attack.
Carbon Monoxide can not be seen, it can not be tasted and even the best of noses can not smell it. It can come from an exhaust leak or even the APU. Cracking the vent in the sleeper can make your chances of falling victim to CO poisoning even greater, because fumes are coming in from all the trucks around you.
What causes CO poisoning? It comes from the incomplete burning of various fuels. In the trucking industry it comes mostly from Diesel. Any thing than burns such as wood, gasoline and even natural gas and liquid propane gas can produce Carbon Dioxide.
The symptoms of CO poisoning can feel like a bad case of the flu.
Shortness of Breath
Prolonged Symptoms include:
- Loss of muscular coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Ultimately death
Symptom severity is related to duration and level of the CO gases. If in the cab of a truck, onset is going to be quicker than in your residence.
What kind of CO detector do I buy? Anything is better than nothing, and most on the market will meet the minimum recommendation of the current UL 2034 safety standard.
If you think you are suffering from CO poisoning seek immediate medical attention, then notify your company. Remember that this is a issue that OSHA will be happy to investigate and you are protected by the Whistle Blower or the Surface Transportation Act. Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA), 49 USC § 31105 .