How dangerous are gases in confined spaces?

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

Certain types of jobs come with risks and dangers. Working in confined spaces might cause some concerns for employees in Pennsylvania. Sometimes, working in a tight space leaves someone feeling claustrophobic and concerned about being able to breathe. Difficulties in breathing could come from inhaling gases, creating a dangerous health hazard.

Gases in confined spaces

Someone working near gas lines might notice a “rotten egg” smell. The scent is added to warn workers about a natural gas leak since the gas by itself has no scent. Without the added warning scent, some might continue to inhale the gas until suffering a dangerous reaction. The flammable gas may also explode, so the smell warns people to seek a safer location and call the local gas company authorities.

Carbon monoxide represents a dangerous poisonous gas that could kill someone inhaling it. Exhaust from a car could fill an interior and, if the gas cannot escape, those exposed might continue to inhale it until it is too late.

Volatile organic compound vapors could cause respiratory problems, as well. VOC vapors may come from chemicals, such as paint thinners or fuels, including kerosene and gasoline. Poor ventilation in a confined space might allow these fumes to build up, creating health hazards.

Workers dealing with dangerous chemicals

Hopefully, a worksite has the necessary sensors in place to warn workers about gases and fumes. Inhaling toxic substances could lead to a respiratory emergency and other problems. A heart attack might occur, putting someone’s life in jeopardy.

Injuries related to gas inhalation may recover significant recovery time, requiring the worker to seek workers’ compensation benefits. The benefits are designed to cover wage loss and medical expenses until the afflicted can return to work, and beyond if necessary.

Hopefully, workers have the proper safety equipment that protects them from gas leaks. Equipment may fail, though. So, workers must be on the alert for dangers present in confined locations containing toxic gases.

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