In Ohio, a college student discovered a serious carbon monoxide problem in her apartment that lead to the evacuation of the entire building. When Elise Rye, an Ohio University student, peeked at her carbon monoxide detector again two days later, she still wasn’t comfortable with what she found.
The New Political reported that “The levels on the detector this night, however, were varying from around 30 parts per million (ppm) to 60 ppm rather than a constant zero. Still, no alarm went off. Not wanting to take any chances, she and her roommates called the fire department.”
The New Political also reported that over a three-year period, the Athens Fire Department responded to 103 calls related to carbon monoxide detectors. And of those 103 calls, 41 of them were related to malfunction issues with the detector itself.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) states that carbon monoxide can leak from any appliance that runs on gas, along with tobacco smoke and fireplaces. Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure include fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Plus, carbon monoxide poisoning is particularly dangerous for tenants with heart or lung disease.
A major problem with carbon dioxide detectors, especially in apartment buildings and on college campuses, is that when the batteries are low, the residents get annoyed with the constant warning sound. Rather than simply changing the batteries, they unplug the detectors completely. That’s why it’s important that all landlords, tenants, and university officials comply with OSHA’s rules regarding effective carbon monoxide testing.
Most people know OSHA, if they know it at all, as the federal agency that sets safety guidelines for the construction industry. For instance, OSHA 1926.1402 states that cranes must be assembled on ground that is firm, graded sufficiently, and properly drained, and there are thousands such regulations covering everything from crane safety to the proper handling of electrical equipment.
In late February, in Pennsylvania, building contractors who did not have the required permits to perform work on an apartment building that partially collapsed and injured two workers.
According to WTAE, after the apartment building collapsed, debris fell down and struck a gas line, forcing officials to shut off the power. OSHA is currently investigating whether or not the two men injured were properly trained to perform the task.
“From the information we’ve gathered to this point, no proper permit has been applied for to do this type of work and change the structure of the building,” said Al Hussey, Boro Fire Marshal. “When you start getting into this type of work, you really want to know what you’re doing and to be trained to do that.”