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Carbon Dioxide at LAX Airport Sickened Employees: Injured Workers in the News #68

It is reported that four workers at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday, Oct. 31, were sickened when a fire-suppression system inside an electrical room went off, releasing carbon dioxide.” One worker was sent to the hospital in grave condition. The worker apparently went into cardiac arrest.

What Type of Injury Is This?

This type of injury is called an “exposure” case. Exposure cases can be extremely dangerous, even fatal.   Carbon Monoxide, the alleged chemical in this matter, is an invisible gas.  It can displace oxygen.   Workers can breath in the gas.  It is possible that gas exposure can cause suffocation.  In this instance, an alleged heart attack occurred.

How Is This Claim Assessed In Workers’ Compensation?

This claim is a complicated matter. In workers’ compensation, it would be viewed as an Internal Medicine type of injury.  Thus, initially, the specialty fields of cardiology and pulmonology would be involved.  Both heart and lung damage should be investigated.   Likewise, there may be other medical problems which should be addressed as well.  Per the Mayo Clinic, “Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage, or even death.”

Is There A Third Party Claim? 

Work Injuries do not preclude claims against third parties. Thus, it is important to understand who employees worked for.  Other parties may be responsible for the facility and for the system.  Based upon the facts, it is possible that there might be a third party claim against the  fire suppression system manufacturer.  Further, if those who maintained and operated the fire and suppression system may have some liability.

What if I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 27 years. Contact us today for more information.

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