Carbon Monoxide Exposure Investigations - The Engineers’ Role

February 8, 2016

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas produced by incomplete combustion of hydrocarbon fuels like oil, natural gas, propane and gasoline. Human exposure to carbon monoxide at elevated levels can cause carbon monoxide poisoning resulting in injury and, in severe exposures, can be fatal.

Often, carbon monoxide is produced as a result of improper operation or installation of HVAC, or combustion equipment in a building or vehicle.  Investigation of carbon monoxide exposures requires a thorough methodological approach, much like a fire investigation. There are three main aspects to investigating a carbon monoxide poisoning incident: (1) identifying the source of the carbon monoxide, (2) determining the concentration distribution of the gas through a structure and (3) the human body’s absorption of the toxic gas.

This webinar, by fire protection and mechanical engineers from Exponent, will discuss:


  • Characteristics of carbon monoxide exposure
  • Key sources for data that will aid in performing a complete engineering analysis of the incident
  • Exposure levels necessary to cause injuries of varying degrees. 

Additionally, Exponent engineers will discuss their methodology for investigating and documenting a carbon monoxide exposure incident, and how they utilize information collected to identify the root cause of the exposure. The presentation will conclude with an explanation of generally accepted calculations used to correlate expected injuries with the identified exposure.

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