When you think of workplace hazards, it’s easy to think of things like fires, falls, electrocutions and accidents involving heavy machinery. While these can be very dangerous, it’s also important to remember that there are some hazards that are far harder to identify. One of these, which you can’t see, smell, or taste, is carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is often created when burning is done in an incomplete fashion. It can come from many different types of fuel, including natural gas, propane, coal, oil, kerosene, gasoline and even wood.
The most common example of CO production is the automobile, and it’s the reason that having the car running in the garage is so hazardous. The gas can quickly overcome people and cause them to pass out. This can lead to all sorts of ailments, including brain damage and death. Workers in these settings need to be sure they have proper ventilation any time that a car is running.
However, as shown by the list of potential fuels noted above, there are many more sources to consider. These include blast furnaces, ovens, and forges. Anywhere that fuel is being burned, there is the potential for carbon monoxide.
Even though you can’t sense the gas, there are signs to look out for. Symptoms of exposure include a tightness in the chest, headache, fatigue, nausea, drowsiness and dizziness. These symptoms get worse as time goes by, and could eventually cause you to vomit, feel confused and disoriented, and eventually collapse.
If you’ve been exposed at work in Maryland, you may be able to seek compensation for injuries and medical bills.