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An evaluation of an emission control device and interlock to prevent carbon monoxide poisonings of individuals on houseboats.

Earnest G; Dunn K; Hall R; McCleery R; McCammon J
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2002 Jun; :99
Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluated several engineering controls that were retrofitted onto gasoline-powered generators on houseboats to reduce carbon monoxide (CO) exposure and poisonings from the exhaust. This evaluation was part of a series of collaborative studies conducted by NIOSH investigators to document hazardous CO concentrations on houseboats and evaluate and recommend effective engineering controls. The evaluated controls consisted of an emission control device (ECD) similar to a catalytic converter, and an electrical interlock. Results of the evaluation indicated that when com- pared to no engineering control, these systems performed well. Data gathered while the ECD was operating indicated that mean and peak CO concentrations were reduced by two to three orders of magnitude at numerous locations on the houseboat. Average CO concentrations near the rear swim deck of the house-boat, an area where occupants frequently congregate, were reduced from an average of 395 ppm to 0.6 ppm, a reduction greater than 99%. CO concentrations were also greatly reduced on the upper deck of the houseboat (average of 35.7 ppm to 1.9 ppm). Reductions in CO concentrations were statistically significant. The performance of the evaluated ECD was excellent; however, additional testing and evaluation of this device is warranted. The evaluated interlock was capable of quickly shutting "down the generator when the swim ladder was placed into the water, and hazardous CO concentrations near the lower, rear deck dissipated within several minutes. The interlocking system performed as designed and could help to reduce some CO poisonings; but, this system has limitations that prevent it from being used as a primary control. NIOSH investigators recommend that all houseboats, using gasoline-powered generators, should be retrofitted with engineering controls to reduce the hazard of CO poisoning.
Poison-control; Poisons; Engineering-controls; Hazards; Exposure-levels; Exhaust-gases; Exhaust-systems; Exhaust-ventilation; Combustion-gases
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division