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Dangers of CO2 for the food and drinks industries
Dangers of CO2 for the food and drinks industries

The danger associated with carbon dioxide (CO2) in the brewing and wine industry is well known. This gas is toxic, but the nature of the threat it poses is not always fully understood. People die needlessly every year in tragic and CO2 completely avoidable accidents. Use of gas protection devices designed to detect CO2 is necessary to protect human life.   

If CO2 escapes, it will tend to sink to the floor, where it can form deadly, invisible pockets. It collects in cellars and at the bottom of containers and confined spaces, such as tanks and silos. CO2 is extremely hazardous and can kill in two ways: By displacing oxygen, leading to rapid asphyxiation. Asphyxiation can be caused by any gas displacing oxygen, leaving no oxygen to breathe in the atmosphere.  CO2 can also pose a danger as a toxin: exposure to as little as 0.5 percent by volume CO2 represents a toxic health hazard, while concentrations greater than 10 percent by volume can lead to death. Because CO2 is completely odourless and colourless, there may well be no indication of danger until it is too late. 

In order to ensure compliance with occupational exposure limits, it is necessary to monitor the levels of CO2 each worker is exposed to individually.  To achieve this, personal monitors are provided to staff when they enter the risk zone of their workplace.  Alternatively, fixed monitors can be installed in such places as cellars, cool-stores or production areas where CO2 is being stored.  All detection equipment is to be calibrated on a 6-monthly basis by a certified service supplier.   

For advice on protecting your staff, call Instrumatics on 09-526 0096 or visit www.instrumatics.co.nz/projects/CO2

 

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