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Where Should Carbon Monoxide Alarms Be Located in the Workplace?

A staggering 60 deaths a year are associated with carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales,1 highlighting the need for carbon monoxide alarms for an effective way to detect carbon monoxide in the air.

The Importance of CO Alarms

Carbon monoxide detectors alert people to the presence of dangerous gases, which can be fatal in enclosed spaces. Carbon monoxide is odourless and tasteless, meaning it often goes undetected to the human senses, but can lead to damaging illness, due to it starving the body of oxygen.

Carbon Monoxide Detector Placement

Carbon monoxide detectors must be fitted in all sizes of commercial properties, from shops, factories and industrial units, to corporate offices. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places responsibility on employers to ensure employees and customers follow health and safety, therefore it is the organisation’s responsibility to ensure CO detectors are installed correctly. The Government advises that CO detectors should be compliant with British Standards BS 50291, and carry a British or European approval mark.

Placement and installation of carbon monoxide detectors:

  • Carbon monoxide detectors must be placed near any fuel-burning appliances – such as boilers, stoves and opens.
  • They should be placed 1m- 3m horizontally from potential sources of carbon monoxide, such as boilers, but no less than 1m.
  • They should be placed at least 3cm from any wall or light fittings.
  • Detectors should not be placed directly above a sink or in any humid area such as a bathroom.
  • They should not be placed anywhere where the temperature is below -5°C or above 40°C.

Three Types of Carbon Monoxide Alarms


Plug-in CO alarms are mostly used in residential settings, as commercial buildings require stronger detection capabilities. However, plug-in detectors are thought to be as effective as their battery-operated counterpart.

Battery Operated

Battery operated CO alarms are often installed in residential homes, and are only recommended to be installed in commercial buildings if they are not considered a new construction. All other commercial buildings are advised to opt for a hardwired detector.

Some battery detectors should have their batteries replaced every 6 months, unless they have a specified battery life – such as those that last 10 years.


Hardwired CO alarms give you the opportunity to connect to other alarms throughout the property, and are often more dependable than battery alarms. However, hardwired alarms are also equipped with a battery backup, for use in event of a power outage, making them more reliable.

CO Detector Maintenance

Carbon monoxide alarms should be regularly tested and checked, to ensure that they are working properly.

The CO cell contained within the alarm should also be tested, which can be done with the help of a tester such as the Solo C3, an aerosol that includes CO concentration levels that are high enough to activate the alarm, but low enough that they will not pose danger to health.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Zeta Alarms Stand Alone Carbon Monoxide Detector

Zeta Alarm Systems CO-200 carbon monoxide detector features a bar graph display to present the current CO level reading, with a two-stage relay output which operates at first alarm level (100ppm) and second alarm level (200ppm), with power, fault and alarm indications. The detector can be installed either surface mounted with its own backbox, or with a standard recessed box for semi-flush mounting, making it ideal for various uses and building requirements.

Hispec Battery Operated Carbon Monoxide Detector

The Hispec Battery Operated Carbon Monoxide Alarm features an advanced electrochemical sensor, with self test and self diagnostic functionality to provide warning in the event of danger. Paired with a 10 year battery life, this detector features all of the necessary attributes to make a safe and easy-to-install carbon monoxide detector.


Carbon monoxide detectors are mandatory in any commercial building or property in the UK, so it is important to follow installation procedures to ensure they are effective, to keep property and people safe.

1 CO Info