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August 22, 2012
State urges caution in wake of carbon monoxide incidents

Oregon OSHA is encouraging employers to take precautions to avoid carbon monoxide exposure. This summer, employees at three Portland-area worksites were exposed to high levels while operating gas-powered equipment. Exposure can cause nausea, dizziness, headache or, in extreme cases, death.

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 “It’s alarming to see this number of serious carbon monoxide incidents,” said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood. “While the risk always exists, employers should see this as a reminder to beware of the hazard in their workplace.”

The first case involved a gas-powered pressure washer at a fruit-processing plant, which sent 23 people to the hospital. In the second incident, construction workers in a warehouse were operating a gas-powered saw and other internal combustion engine equipment at the same time. Another exposure affected a worker using a gas-powered saw in a manhole.

Oregon OSHA reminds employers and employees that heaters, generators, sprayers, pressure washers, drywall equipment, forklifts, and anything else with an internal combustion engine or that burns a petroleum fuel, gas, wood, or coal, can pose a risk especially in an enclosed space.

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