"I’m with the Fire Marshal’s office and I’m here to inspect your CO2 monitoring system.”
Have you heard those sentences yet? If you store compressed CO2 or use CO2 in your business, you will soon.
Just like your fire protection inspections, health code inspections, and building inspections, CO2 monitoring inspections are NOT optional. Do you even know if your state or town requires a monitor by code? You should.
As an update to our June 2014 article about the rise in CO2 monitoring regulations here are a few helpful resource notes for you to check if you are required to have a CO2 monitor.
- Start at the state level. Contact the state Fire Marshal, Building Inspector, and the Head of the Boiler and Pressure Vessel division. Why the Boiler Inspector? Your state's Boiler Inspector is in charge of enforcing the state and national regulations for boilers, and in most cases, pressure vessels. CO2 storage tanks ARE pressure/storage vessels and can be regulated by these codes. To search for your states Boiler Inspector visit http://www.nationalboard.org/ViewAllSynopses.aspx and search by your state.
- In most cases the state Fire Code or Building Code will override the NBIC regulations so don’t check just one source. Check at least two.
- Move to the local level. In some states like Michigan the state has abdicated responsibility for these regulations and codes to local officials. Check with the Fire Marshall and Building Inspector in your town and ask if they have or are considering a code for CO2 monitoring. Know whether your local officials are considering a change.
- The major issue with leaving code creation to local officials is that it creates a jumbled array of codes across the state. Municipalities next to each other could have completely different codes. If you are a small business owner you may be required to have a monitor in South Miami but not in North Miami. This “wild west show” leads to ambiguity and confusion for business owners trying to do the right thing for their employees and guests. And know that even though North Miami doesn’t have a code today, they will enact one as soon as they figure out that South Miami has one (and is making money off of it too).
- Do not rely on your gas supplier to know the code. They may be helpful, but keeping track of state local ordinances is not their responsibility.
- These regulations apply to anyone that is storing or creating CO2. Hospitals and medical facilities, breweries, restaurants and bars, indoor growers, and industry should all be mindful that changing CO2 regulations may mean that what was not required yesterday may be required next week. Assign the responsibility of checking regularly to someone on your team.