Carbon monoxide in the workplace

OSHA has submitted a reminder to employers in South Carolina and the rest of the United States to do what is needed to protect workers from the effects of carbon monoxide exposure. This reminder follows a number of occurrences that indicate there is a need for both workers and employers to be educated on the hazards of the gas, especially in regard to portable generators and other tools inside of enclosed areas.

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that's odorless and colorless, which is why it's important to be familiar with overexposure symptoms. Typical signs of overexposure may include drowsiness, vomiting, headaches, tightness across the chest, nausea and dizziness. In cases of severe overexposure, the affected individuals may suffer neurological damage, fall into a coma or die.

When fuel-burning tools and equipment are used in structures or partially enclosed areas that do not have proper ventilation, the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning increase. Common sources of carbon monoxide may include compressors, pumps, furnaces, power tools, gas-powered forklifts and welding equipment. The risk of suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning increases during the winter months when the fuel-burning equipment is used in indoor spaces that have been sealed to provide protection against freezing temperatures and wind.

An attorney who practices workers' compensation law may advise an employee who has been hurt on the job. With proper legal assistance, an injured worker could obtain the benefits to which they're entitled. The attorney may advocate on behalf of a client whose benefit claim has been denied.