Hazardous Atmosphere Excavation

Carbon Monoxide

  • Combustion creates carbon monoxide(CO), which displaces oxygen in the blood. This cause suffocation of people that breath to much of it.
  • Vapor density of air is 1 versus carbon monoxide which is .96. So, CO is lighter than air.
  • Where oxygen deficiency (atmospheres containing less than 19.5% oxygen) or a hazardous atmosphere exists or could reasonably be expected to exist, such as in excavations in landfill areas or excavations in areas where hazardous substances are stored nearby, the atmospheres in the excavation shall be tested before employees enter excavations greater than 4’ in depth.
  • Adequate atmospheric testing should be done when gas powered equipment is being used in the excavation and  to prevent employee exposure to atmospheres containing less than 19.5% oxygen and other hazardous atmospheres.