Silent Killers: Toxic Gas Exposure in the Workplace

March 30, 2017 4:10 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The risk of exposure to toxic gases on commercial and industrial sites in San Jose, California, is very high. And, as with any other potential work hazard, employers are responsible for the safety of their employees in the event that a toxic gas leak should occur. The three most commonly found toxic gases on industrial sites include carbon monoxide, chlorine and methane. Below is an overview of these three gases and symptoms of exposure that you should be aware of.

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is probably the most well known toxic gas because of its universal presence everywhere from homes to industrial sites. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. Carbon monoxide is often present at commercial an industrial sites because it is created through the burning of such substances as oil, coal, propane and natural gas, all of which are commonly present in industrial settings. Below are symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure to be aware of:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

Prolonged exposure due to an undetected presence of carbon monoxide can result in loss of consciousness and even death. To keep employees safe, it is essential to have gas detectors in San Jose, CA that can detect carbon monoxide early on and alert employees to a leak.


Chlorine is one of the most-manufactured substances in the U.S. and is commonly used while making pesticides and many types of rubber. Just like with carbon monoxide, overexposure to chlorine can be deadly. Early symptoms of chlorine exposure include the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fluid in the lungs

Most symptoms of chlorine exposure do not present themselves until hours after the exposure has occurred. By then, severe physical damage may have already taken place. Again, the best way to prevent overexposure to chlorine is to have a gas detection system in place to warn employees of a leak before overexposure occurs.


Methane is a dangerous and highly explosive gas. Methane exposure is most common among miners, but it can occur in any industry where coal cutting occurs. Methane in small quantities is not necessarily dangerous, but methane levels can rise quickly and often without warning. Symptoms of methane exposure to watch out for include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Although methane can usually be detected by a strong rotten egg odor, by the time the smell is noticeable, it usually means there is already a dangerously high level of the gas present. Because methane is toxic as well as explosive, gas detectors should be present on any site where methane exposure is a possibility.

The best protection against exposure to toxic gases in the workplace is early detection. Although some toxic gas leaks can be detected without a gas detector, by that time overexposure has most likely already occurred. To best protect your employees and avoid a deadly accident, invest in gas detectors in San Jose, CA. To schedule your installation or to learn more, give MDC Systems Inc. a call today!

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