Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning within a Commercial Kitchen

By | Kitchen Interlock

The commercial kitchen is a hazardous area that should be monitored for both toxic and combustible gas hazards. Whether natural gas or propane is used for combustion, a variety of cooking equipment (e.g. stoves, grills and fryers) present a constant flammable danger to workers. In addition, carbon monoxide (CO), the byproduct of incomplete combustion, can be present at unsafe levels. Over the last twenty years, standards for CO monitoring have been developed, with first-alarm levels typically set at 25-35 parts per million.


Today more rigorous standards for gas monitoring are being developed; those driving regulatory change vary by state but include many: building inspectors, consulting engineers, insurance adjustors, fire marshals, and life safety experts. More legislation is inevitable in light of the sobering statistic that 25% of all fatalities in commercial buildings are due to carbon monoxide poisoning. What’s problematic is, CO is odorless, so rising CO levels are difficult to detect by humans. According to medical research, just 0.1% CO in the atmosphere can adversely affect concentration. At 2% CO levels, breathing reduces to about 50% of the normal rate. Once levels rise to 5-10% people quickly become confused and can lapse into unconsciousness. Read More