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Workplace injury: Know the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning

Employers in Oklahoma must ensure the safety and health of employees. Compliance with safety regulations is necessary to avoid workplace injury. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health points out the dangers of carbon monoxide as an area of concern.

NIOSH says employers and workers do not realize that even areas that seem well ventilated pose risks of carbon monoxide poisoning if gasoline-powered equipment is operated there. Generators, pumps, cutting saws and other tools or engines produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Because it is odorless and colorless, employees can be overcome before they even realize the danger. CO overexposure is possible even with open windows and doors and using a fan to ventilate the area.

Workers should be taught how to recognize the tell-tale signs of CO exposure such as nausea, headache, dizziness, weakness and visual disturbances. However, consciousness can be lost within minutes after exposure to CO. Any gas-powered equipment must be used outside, and care must be taken to position it away from air intake areas. When inside work must be done, NIOSH recommends the use of electrical tools.

Victims of CO exposure or any other workplace injury may seek assistance to cover the unanticipated expenses for medical treatment. Benefits claims can be filed with the Oklahoma workers' compensation insurance system. Along with medical bills, the benefits may cover lost wages if the victim suffered temporary disability. In the event of a fatality, the surviving family members may claim death benefits to cover the costs of a funeral and burial, along with a wage replacement package to help with day-to-day living expenses.

Source: safetyandhealthmagazine.com, "Don't be overcome by carbon monoxide", Accessed on Sept. 20, 2017

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