The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined a Toledo bank $10,000 after several of its workers became sickened from carbon monoxide poisoning. An investigation revealed that a faulty heating system malfunctioned and led to a leak of the potentially fatal gas. Fortunately, everyone in the building was safely evacuated.
Although work accidents are common in occupations involving physical labor, stories such as this show they can happen in any type of work environment.
What Types of Work Injuries Are Caused by Gas Leaks?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide fumes can cause headache, dizziness, vomiting and chest pain. In some circumstances, exposure can cause a loss of consciousness and death. Some workers exposed to carbon monoxide will require hospitalization.
Traumatic brain injuries are also possible with carbon monoxide poisoning, as the brain does not receive oxygen. Workers may become permanently disabled from carbon monoxide leaks.
Employers can reduce the risk of carbon monoxide exposure by installing battery-operated detectors that can warn of a gas leak. It is very important that employers regularly have heating systems and coal burning appliances serviced by technicians. In the case of the Toledo bank, a boiler was improperly installed and the dangerous situation could have been avoided with routine maintenance.
Workers who have been injured by gas leaks might have the option to receive workers’ comp benefits. Depending on the circumstances, workers might have additional options for compensation.
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