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19 workers needed medical treatment for CO exposure

Colorado industrial workers may have heard about a carbon monoxide leak at a facility in a nearby state that sent 19 people to the hospital. They all required medical treatment for exposure to the toxic gas, which entails giving them 100 percent oxygen. As the workers recover, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will conduct an investigation into the source of the workers' exposure.

The investigation will determine whether all of the equipment was properly maintained and inspected at regular intervals. It will also focus on the 19 individuals who were exposed. An OSHA representative indicated that carbon monoxide exposure generally occurs when equipment powered by propane is used in an enclosed area without proper ventilation. Investigators have six months to issue a report.

The North Dakota company could receive citations from OSHA, along with fines, depending on what is found. Carbon monoxide is often dubbed the "silent killer," and repeated exposure can cause severe nausea and headaches much as a concussion would. The CO replaces the oxygen in a person's body. Normal oxygen levels are compromised which could lead to serious damage and even death if left unchecked.

Industrial workers in Colorado are often exposed to chemicals and gases such as carbon monoxide. Any indication that working around hazardous substances are putting their health at risk should be investigated. Medical treatment is often covered by workers' compensation benefits, so there is typically no cost to the worker for any treatment related to a work-related illness or injury. Moreover, additional benefits may be available depending on the circumstances.

Source: walleynewslive.com, "OSHA Investigating CO Leak at North Fargo Facility", Bradford Arick, Dec. 18, 2014

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