Briggs & Stratton CO Guard: Safer Portable Generators


Portable generators may cause carbon monoxide poisoning, particularly for impulsive consumers who require electricity after natural catastrophes. Briggs & Stratton is ahead of the curve by installing CO Guard to its machines before the industry-wide safety regulations are implemented in two years. If you need Briggs & Stratton equipment parts, such as Briggs & Stratton lawn mower parts, you can easily purchase or order from Farm Parts Store.

Solving Portable Generators’ Biggest Safety Issue

Approximately 70 fatalities and 2,800 injuries occur annually due to portable generator carbon monoxide emissions. These devices are safe if used properly, but new users often disobey instructions and put them up in poisonous locations.

This issue is widely recognized, but industry-wide solutions have proved difficult. Government regulation of carbon monoxide is unclear. The EPA addresses pollutants, while the CPSC tackles safety issues. This problem was addressed by the 2009 Portable Generator Manufacturers Association (PGMA) voluntary standard. This industrial group controls 80% of the market.

Under the early 2010s, the CPSC created a low CO emissions tech demo under lab circumstances that the PGMA called implausible. The PGMA formed two groups to find a solution: one focused on a low-emission engine like the CPSC suggestion, and the other on a shut-off mechanism. The latter technology triumphed since it was cheap and simple to apply, whereas low-emission engines are being developed in the coming years.

A New Safety Standard

Based on this effort, the CPSC, PGMA, and ANSI created the ANSI/PGMA G300-2018 standard. This new standard ultimately standardizes CO management and electrical, thermal, and mechanical safety. All generators 15kW or below, including inverter, open frame, and construction variants, must comply with G300 by March 31, 2020. These shut-off mechanisms should avoid over 99% of deaths if the generator is run inside.

CO Guard: Safety Technology Forward

While manufacturers have time to comply, Briggs & Stratton said in April that they will launch its CO Guard safety system shortly. Starting with the initial generators, their line will be phased in over 18 months.

The ignition system contains a CO sensor to meet the new requirement. When the sensor detects harmful gas levels, it cuts off the engine and illuminates the warning light. CO levels must decline before the ignition mechanism activates.

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