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Carbon monoxide poisoning in the workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a reminder to employers in New Jersey and the rest of the United States to do what it takes to protect their workers from the effects of carbon monoxide exposure. The reminder is in response to a number of incidents that show that there is a need to instruct both workers and employers about the hazards of carbon monoxide exposure caused by portable generators and other types of tools inside of enclosed spaces.

Because carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no scent and is colorless, workers and employers have to be able to recognize the symptoms of overexposure. Typical symptoms can include nausea, tightness across the chest, dizziness, drowsiness and headaches. Workers who have been severely overexposed to carbon monoxide can become comatose, experience neurological damage or die.

Workers die from carbon monoxide poisoning every year, often when there are fuel-burning tools and equipment that are being operated in building or partially enclosed spaces that do not have sufficient ventilation. These tools can include pumps, space heaters, compressors, portable generators, welding equipment, motorized vehicles, power tools, furnaces and gas-powered forklifts. The danger of carbon monoxide poisoning increases significantly during the winter months when the fuel-burning equipment is operated in interior spaces that have been tightly sealed to prevent cold temperatures and wind from seeping in.

A workers' compensation attorney may work to protect the rights and interests of clients who have been injured on the job due to inadequate workplace safety. Workers who have sustained carbon monoxide exposure, occupational diseases, head injuries, permanent disability, broken bones and other work-related injuries may be advised of their legal options for pursuing financial compensation. Assistance mightmay be provided for filing for workers' compensation benefits and appealing claims that have been denied or insufficiently awarded.

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