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Carbon Monoxide Exposure in the Workplace and Georgia Workers Compensation

April 13, 2018

Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Montlick & Associates Aggressively Pursue Economic Awards for Workers Injured or Killed by Carbon Monoxide Exposure 

Most people are familiar with carbon monoxide. They know carbon monoxide, CO, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. Carbon monoxide sometimes mixes with other gases which can be perceived through the senses. However, you will not know that CO is a component of the gas mixture. To that extent, carbon monoxide is a silent killer — especiallyin an industrial workspace. 

Carbon monoxide can disable and kill a person quickly. Carbon monoxide enters the body through the respiratory system as CO is inhaled with the air during normal breathing. The carbon monoxide goes straight to work on the red blood cells of the victim. Specifically, hemoglobin in the red blood cells bindstocarbon monoxide rather than oxygen. In fact, carbon monoxide forms bonds 300-times more easily with hemoglobin than oxygen. That means carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in the red blood cells. 

How Carbon Monoxide Affectsthe Body

Signs of oxygen deprivation can appear within a very short timeframe. Even small amounts of CO entering the bloodstream can initiate a physical response from the body because the body is not receiving sufficient levels of oxygen in the blood. Symptoms associated with carbon monoxide ingestion are: 

  • Headaches,
  • Rapid breathing,
  • Exhaustion,
  • Weakness,
  • Confusion,
  • Dizziness,
  • Loss of consciousness, and
  • Nausea.

Injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when the brain is no longer supplied with oxygen-rich blood. The medical term for this condition is hypoxia. Hypoxia can have devastating and irreversible effects on the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Hypoxia can cause brain damage. Occasionally, the effects of hypoxia may be reversed with rapid medical intervention. Unfortunately, oxygen deprivation to the brain can cause irreversible brain damage as well. Heart damage can occur from depleted oxygenated blood as well. Furthermore, the victim’s reproductive system can suffer damage from prolonged carbon monoxide exposure. 

Carbon Monoxide Exposure in the Workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) established limitations on the amount of carbon monoxide to which a worker may be exposedon the job site.  OHSA regulations allow a worker to inhale 50 carbon monoxide particles per one million of air particles during an 8-hour shift for the average worker. OSHA's regulations allow employees who work with roll-on dumpsters and other dispensers near exhaust from vehicles to experience 200 carbon monoxide parts per one million parts of average air.

Jobs With a High CO Exposure Rates

Most jobs with a high degree of exposure to carbon monoxide typically place workers near combustion engines. Examples of workers frequently exposed to carbon monoxide are:

  • Welders,
  • Mechanics,
  • Police Officers,
  • Firefighters,
  • Taxi driver,
  • Carbon-black maker,
  • Metal oxide reducer,
  • Longshoreworker,
  • Customers inspector,
  • Toll booth attendant,
  • Tunnel worker,
  • Forklift driver,
  • Garage mechanic,
  • Diesel engine mechanics and operators, and
  • Marine Terminal workers.

The common thread among these occupations is how the job places the worker near a running engine powered by a petroleum product. Workers who spend all or part of their shift working in breweries, oil refineries, boiler rooms, on docks, near blast furnaces, on docks, or in the production of steel as well as paper and pulp production. 

Rights of Georgia Workers Exposed to Dangerous Levels of Carbon Monoxide

Georgia law affords employees rights under Georgia's comprehensive workers' compensation laws. Georgia workers must notify their employer of exposure to CO within 30 days unless the employer witnessed the incident. A certified physician must examine you to determine the extent of your injury. Your employer's workers' compensation insurance will pay you for the time you are disabled. You do not need to prove that your employer did something wrong to recover workers’ compensat benefits. 

Put Our Law Firm's Over 39 Years Of Legal Experience To Work For Your Case!

If you have been injured at work, call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation today. Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 39 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour live chat.

Source: cited in article

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333 


Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.