Carbon Monoxide News and Information

Archive for the ‘Carbon Monoxide News and Information’ Category

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, giving no indication of its deadly presence besides its flu-like symptoms (click here for to learn about the signs and symptoms).  Many people know that the risk of CO poisoning is present at home, but poisonings in the workplace are just as likely to occur.  Because the gas is produced by the burning of any carbon containing material, such as natural gas or coal, workers in industrial occupations around any type of combustion are at risk.

Occupations with Greatest Risk for CO Exposure

Basically, if you work around any form of incineration, you are vulnerable.  According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one of the most common sources of exposure at work is the internal combustion engine.  People who are employed as welders, mechanics, diesel engine operators, marine terminal workers, and similar occupations are specifically mentioned by OSHA as being at above-normal risk for CO poisoning.  Those working with engines and other combustion machinery in small, closed off spaces such as warehouses, boiler rooms, and tunnels are also vulnerable because CO can quickly build up in poorly ventilated areas.

Preventing CO Poisoning

While these occupations are inherently risky because of the threat of CO poisoning, there are measures that both employers and employees in these areas can take to prevent poisoning.  Employers can install efficient ventilation systems to introduce fresh air into the work place and to help dissipate CO and other harmful gases produced in industrial processes.  Combustion equipment such as engines and furnaces must be properly installed and cared for or else harmful leaks can lead to a buildup of CO.  CO monitors and alarms (link to detector article) should also be utilized to monitor for any leaks or buildups in order to evacuate individuals in the area before symptoms even begin to show.  Employees should also be educated about the harmful effects of CO, proper safety precautions they should take, and symptoms of a poisoning.

The ill effects of CO poisoning can be reversed if a poisoning is caught soon enough.  People need to be aware of the presence of the gas in order to identify its symptoms.  If a CO buildup is not caught fast enough, large amounts can collect and cause acute poisonings.  High concentrations of CO can cause significant, permanent damage to the body.  The effects of exposure to low doses for long periods of time are not yet fully understood, and so every measure should be taken to prevent excess CO accumulation.

Virginia Carbon Monoxide Lawyers

According to federal law, employers must take certain precautionary measures to ensure that CO levels are below a certain concentration, and to ensure that equipment does not emit high amounts of CO.  If you or someone you care about was poisoned by carbon monoxide at work, and you believe that negligence may have played a part in the poisoning, you need dedicated legal assistance to help support your claim and ensure that you receive adequate compensation for any injuries.  Attorneys at our firm are well versed in cases dealing with toxic exposure, and are ready to take your call.

#1 Cause of Poisoning Deaths in US

Carbon monoxide kills over 400 people a year, and is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in America.  This odorless, colorless gas can work quickly, giving little indication of its presence until extreme symptoms of poisoning appear.  Because CO is so difficult to identify, carbon monoxide detectors are needed in every single home.  They provide both a first line of defense and peace of mind, but only when they are properly installed.

What to Look for in a CO Detector

When buying a CO detector, be aware of available options.  CO detectors come in many shapes and sizes.  Most importantly, the CO detector that you choose should meet UL standards.  These standards specify acceptable locations for the detectors and considerations such as response times to certain detected concentrations.  The higher the concentration, the faster the response should be.  First and foremost, you should make sure your detector meets these standards.

Types Of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Next, choose the type of detector.  Detectors can be battery operated or plug-in with a backup battery.  The latter is the better choice, because they are more dependable.  Detectors that run solely on batteries go through them quickly, making people less likely to replace them when needed.  Plug-ins last longer and have the battery backup in case of a power outage.  Some CO detectors also come with a digital display indicating exact CO concentrations.  For a few extra dollars, these detectors provide valuable knowledge to protect you and your family.  They can convey to the user levels just below threshold, which can be problematic for long periods of time.  They can also display peak readings from the recent past, notifying the home owners of incidents that may have occurred when they weren’t in the house.  Additionally, they can alert emergency responders to the threat level facing CO poisoning victims.

Where to Place Your CO Detector

Finally, CO detectors need to be placed properly in the home so they can work efficiently.  If you choose to purchase only one CO detector, it should be placed near the sleeping area of the house to wake up victims in the middle of the night.  However, it is recommended to purchase enough detectors for every level of the home, and for every bedroom.  Because carbon monoxide is produced by burning fuel, do not place the detector near a fuel burning appliance because this could mask a serious problem (the detector should be at least 15 feet away).  Keep it away from humid areas, like the bathroom, as well.  CO is often produced with hot air and thus has a tendency to rise, so don’t set the detector too close to the floor.  And of course, consult the instruction manual included with your detector and follow the manufacturer’s specific recommendations.  Most modern detectors last 5-6 years, so be sure to replace them after this time frame, even if they appear to be working fine.

Choosing the right CO detector can prevent serious injuries and even death.  Make an informed decision, and install the device correctly to protect yourself and your loved ones.


 

Do You Need A Virginia Carbon Monoxide Lawyer?

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC represent victims and their families that have suffered from the serious side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a negligent individual or entity. If you’ve been poisoned and you suspect that it was caused by a defective appliance,  faulty repairs, a negligent installation, or the carelessness of another– contact our attorneys today.

Our attorneys understand the urgent need to do an immediate investigation on your behalf to preserve crucial evident and have obtained outstanding results for our clients. We offer a no fee promise which means you pay no legal fees unless we win or settle your case.