According to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, confined spaces are some of the most hazardous threats that workers face. The agency prescribes strict safety standards to prevent workplace accidents. One of the most significant risks in these spaces is the lack of oxygen and the presence of deadly gases like carbon monoxide.
Cal/OSHA recently concluded an investigation into an incident last December when two plumbers were overcome by carbon monoxide in a crawl space below the San Francisco International Airport. Replacing sewer pipes in the area underneath the airline caterer's premises required the two workers to cut sections of concrete. To achieve this, they used a saw that was powered by gasoline, and the carbon monoxide emitted by the saw overwhelmed them.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause death within minutes, but, miraculously, both workers survived. Rescue workers reached them quickly and found that one worker was unconscious. They rushed him to a hospital where he had to stay for a couple of days, and the other worker was treated at the scene. Cal/OSHA cited both the plumbing company and the catering company for multiple safety violations, and stiff fines were proposed.
California workers who suffered injuries in workplace accidents might have to deal with the financial consequences. They can claim benefits through the state-regulated workers' compensation system. The compensation typically covers all medical expenses, and if the injured worker is temporarily disabled, he or she might be eligible for a wage-replacement package. An experienced workers ' compensation attorney can explain the available recourse and assist every step along the way.