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OSHA says company exposed workers to unsafe working environment

Following an investigation into a November 2014 workplace accident, a Missouri company is facing proposed OSHA penalties of $70,700. The inspectors of the Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that the business owner provided an unsafe working environment. When workers have to work in hazardous conditions, they are at a distinct disadvantage, and they may ultimately suffer severe injuries or work-related illnesses.

OSHA reported that 18 workers landed in hospital after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning. The workers were apparently testing a machine that washes commercial industrial parts in a building with no ventilation. The doors were apparently closed due to the cold weather, and the machine they were testing was powered by natural gas heaters. According to investigators, the workers were overwhelmed by deadly carbon monoxide gases at a level that was almost seven times more than what is permitted.

Safety regulations prescribe that workers who have to work in such dangerous conditions must be provided with respiratory protection. Furthermore, gas levels at work sites must be monitored, and proper ventilation equipment must be present. Carbon monoxide cannot be smelled, seen or tasted, and it is known as a silent killer.

When Missouri workers have to work in an unsafe working environment in which they are exposed to carbon monoxide gas, they may want to look out for common symptoms of overexposure. These include severe headaches and vomiting, and if affected workers are not immediately treated, the exposure may lead to death. No reasoning can justify the exposure of workers to life-threatening gas levels, and employers who disregard safety regulations will face the consequences. However, the economic consequences injured workers and their families will have to face may ruin their financial stability. For this reason, they may pursue claims for workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: workerscompensation.com, “18 workers Endangered by Deadly Levels of Carbon Monoxide Gas“, May 22, 2015