Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in the Workplace
When it comes to the safety of workers, it is essential for employers to consider possible dangers in the workplace and take steps to protect those who inhabit offices, job-sites, and warehouses. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very serious problem that is the leading cause of accidental poisoning injury and death in the U.S.Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the "Silent Killer" because it has no odor, no taste, and is not visible to the naked eye. People who are exposed to the gas may be unaware that they are in danger until it is too late, and they may suffer serious injuries or even death if exposed for a length of time. If an office or workspace is poorly ventilated, appliances and machinery that emit the gas may threaten the safety of employees who work in the area.Commonly found appliances that may emit carbon monoxide include water heaters that run on gas, propane appliances like stoves and heaters, generators powered by diesel and gas, forklifts, saws, boat engines, and other commonly found items. Certain chemicals like spray paints, paint removers, and other commonly used items can also emit the gas and cause health problems for persons who may inhale the fumes.The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may be relatively minor at first and may be confused with common illnesses like the cold or flu. Persons exposed to the gas may complain of headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue, all of which can easily be mistaken for other health problems. More serious symptoms may include chest pain, hallucinations, seizure, and other very severe reactions to the exposure.People who have been exposed to the poisonous gas often require high doses of oxygen and may even be subjected to hyperbaric chambers as treatment in severe cases. Unfortunately, the gas may cause lasting injuries and serious health problems for individuals exposed in the workplace, and the injured parties may be eligible for compensation from the company for medical expenses and other costs.If a worker suffers injury while working in the office or on the job-site, he or she may be able to pursue compensation from his or her company's worker's compensation plan. For more information on obtaining worker's compensation benefits, contact the Philadelphia worker's compensation attorneys of Lowenthal & Abrams, P.C.