Portable generators are a common sight on construction jobs. They provide power on demand in places where getting electricity from the grid isn’t possible. When improperly used, portable generators can pose significant risks to worker safety. OSHA’s Portable Generator Safety Resource provides contractors with best practice advice on how to use this equipment safely. We’ve summarized the key findings below.
- Never operate a portable generator in an enclosed area like a crawlspace, garage, or basement.
- Only operate a portable generator outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
- Leave 3-4 feet of free space around a portable generator when it’s on.
- Always operate a portable generator at a safe distance from any structure, avoiding areas near windows, doors, or ventilation shafts where carbon monoxide gas could enter a building.
- Inspect fuel lines regularly to ensure they’re not damaged or coming loose.
- Keep your portable generator dry at all times.
- Educate your workers on the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. These include dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, confusion, and unconsciousness. If anyone experiences these symptoms they should be moved to a well-ventilated area right away and seek medical attention immediately. The space should be inspected by properly equipped, qualified personnel to ensure it’s safe to reenter.
- Always operate a portable generator in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you want to learn more about our employee safety programs or have questions about our safety consulting and OSHA training for contractors, please give us a call at (864) 979-6676. We’re happy to answer any questions you have.