Low Oxygen Level Discovered in Maintenance Tent

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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  Portage, Inc., Moab Remedial Action Contract Team

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Chemical Safety, Occupational Safety and Health, Waste Management

On February 4, 2015 a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector alarmed in a mechanics shop. The shop is a Coverall tent structure and is relatively tight in regard to air movement when closed up. A multigas meter measured 5 parts per million CO, greater than 2 ppm volatile organic compound (VOC), and less than 19.0% Oxygen. It was noted that one of the ceiling mount heaters had shut down which may have been a source for the CO. It was also determined that the source of the VOCs was solvent-containing rags which had been placed in an oily rags self-closing fire-rated container.

Lessons Learned: Structures, especially tight tent structures that utilize vent-less infrared propane-fired heaters, should be tested for oxygen levels periodically, and specifically after periods of closure. Solvent and oil containing rags, even when placed safely in an oily rag self-closing, fire-rated container, should be disposed of at the end of each shift and not allowed to produce fumes that are not able to escape the enclosed building.

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