Workers in North Carolina and throughout the country could face serious harm if exposed to carbon monoxide. On Feb. 12, OSHA sent out a notice to employers reminding them of their duties to keep employees safe from the gas. Carbon monoxide can be most dangerous to workers when they are in poorly ventilated spaces or buildings. The gas itself is odorless and colorless, which makes it almost impossible to be detected without the help of equipment.
OSHA says that employers should not use vehicles or other machines that burn fuel in areas that don't have adequate ventilation. Furthermore, carbon monoxide detectors should be used in areas where workers may be most likely to be at risk for exposure. Workers face an increased danger of carbon monoxide exposure in the winter months. This is because many workers are in confined spaces or areas sealed off to protect against wind or cold temperatures.
Machinery that's more likely to create carbon monoxide includes welders, space heaters and portable generators. Symptoms of carbon monoxide illness include dizziness, nausea and chest tightness. Individuals who are exposed to it for too long could fall into a coma or face other serious injuries just short of death. In some cases, death can occur if an individual doesn't help in a timely manner.
Workers who get sick because of exposure to toxic chemicals or substances may collect workers' compensation benefits. These benefits allow medical expenses to be paid on behalf of the worker now and into the future if necessary. It may also be possible to collect a portion of wages lost, which can help make ends meet while out of work. Legal counsel may be able to help an injured worker with his or her case.