Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see this headline: “Carpet cleaner found dead in home while cleaning carpets.” And sadly, such tragic incidents are entirely preventable.
When such an incident happens, often a cleaner has pulled the van into the warehouse to get closer to the office carpets or even pulled a van into the customer’s garage to keep from running more hose.
Carbon monoxide, or CO, is the most common type of fatal air poisoning. It is an odorless, colorless and poisonous gas that can cause sudden illness and death. CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced, for example, by trucks and cars, small gasoline engines, portable gasoline-powered generators, power washers, forklifts and propane-powered heaters.
How do you prevent toxic CO build-up?
NEVER park the van in an enclosed space like a warehouse without ensuring adequate ventilation and air exchange. The safest approach: DON’T do it!
Park your vehicle so that you direct exhaust from your truckmounted unit or van AWAY from doors, windows or air intake vents that could allow CO to infiltrate and build up inside. Also note if the wind could inadvertently push CO into the building or another enclosed space.
Cleaners often park closer than they should (or where they know they should not) just to save time on running another section or two of hoses. Those extra minutes in laying out and putting away extra sections of hose could save your life as well as that of the people occupying the home or building.
Your equipment does so many things to make your job easier, but it can be deadly as well. Make sure you always park where the conditions, including winds, will not direct the exhaust into or toward a building.