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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    1

    Default Workplace Injury Due to a CO2 Leak

    My question involves workers compensation law for the state of: Ohio

    I recently entered a keg cooler at work that had a co2 leak that my manager was aware of. He didnt warn me or lock the cooler, he didnt call the fire department or offer me medical attention he told me to stop being a baby because I didnt die. I worked my shift not my usual self and complained most of the day of pain in my chest and head, shortness of breath and rapid heart rate. I made it very clear I was upset and never wanted anyone to feel what I had yet my manager didnt take steps to remedy the leak due to increased business.

    Eventually the co2 pressure caused a soda line to explode and a repairman was called. we replaced 4 commercial co2 tanks, I imagine the leak was large, but this fix was only for our soda. I was taken to the ER for panic attacks after work and a day and a half later when I was able to calm down enough to explain the work incident, I was taken for gaseous exposure. the irritation in my lungs is effecting my breathing and I keep going into panic attacks. im supposed to follow up with a psychological counseling and steroids for the irritation.

    My manager said we had no co2 detection devices and today I found we do and that its still detecting leaks. I was also given an incident report that is inaccurate and one sided and two days after the incident, I was told there is footage of me walking into the cooler and my actions after. I am looking for direction on how to handle my situation

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,514

    Default Re: Workers Comp, Personal Injury or What

    This is a workers comp claim.

    This should have been reported to the employer's workers comp carrier and all your medical bills taken care of for as long as you need treatment.

    If you have to be out of work due to your injury, you're eligible for 66 2/3 % of your wages starting with the second week.

    If you get any flak from your employer about the workers comp claim, contact the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation for assistance:

    https://www.bwc.ohio.gov/

    Workers comp is your ONLY remedy against your employer.

    If there is a personal injury claim in your future it would not be against your employer. You would have to determine the cause of the leak to figure out who to make the claim against. Keep in mind that the workers comp carrier is entitled to reimbursement of any workers comp benefits if you are successful with a personal injury claim against somebody other than your employer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    466

    Default Re: Workplace Injury Due to a CO2 Leak

    you can also file a complaint with OSHA
    https://www.osha.gov/workers/index.html
    you can contact your union representative.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Workplace Injury Due to a CO2 Leak

    Does your detector provide an actual concentration?

    If you believe you are being exposed beyond the acceptable limits and your employer is not taking steps to remedy the issue, contact OSHA to report the situation.

    I suspect your continued effects are more psychological than physical. You do realize you inhale and exhale co2 constantly, right? Unless you are exposed to liquid or frozen co2, there should be no long term effects. The injury from liquid or frozen co2 would be burns due to the extremely low temperatures and not from it being co2.

    Once you are removed from an area of high concentration, the excess co2 will be expelled from your body in short order. You may have some lingering effects but they should pass shortly. Elevated respiration, increased heart rate, drowsiness, confusion, and other symptoms typical with low blood oxygen levels are the symptoms of excessive exposure. If you experience such symptoms, leave the area and seek “fresh air”.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: Workplace Injury Due to a CO2 Leak

    Not to minimize your research but I read nothing of any other employee experiencing any issues. Unless op was the only person to enter the cooler, if the levels were high enough to cause physical injury, it is unlikely all others would escape physical injury.

    Given op is stating there is an ongoing leak she needs to call osha or at least contact the fire department to see if they have an air qualify tester where they can come and sample the air and provide an accurate level. If the op would ever consider any further action (if possible) it would require evidence of, at least, negligence if not gross negligence.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,671

    Default Re: Workplace Injury Due to a CO2 Leak

    Co2 is heaver than air and settles to the floor displacing the air (and the oxygen). So if OP breaths through their knees, I don't see a leak of Co2 causing the displacement of the air they breath when entering the cooler. The moment you open the door to the cooler the Co2 pours out. How long were you in the cooler and was the door closed behind you?

    https://www.osha.gov/dts/hib/hib_data/hib19960605.html

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,846

    Default Re: Workplace Injury Due to a CO2 Leak

    Some businesses have their keg coolers in the basement, so a CO2 leak could affect people working throughout the basement. Also, some keg coolers are very large, and employees can spend a considerable amount of time in a closed space while replacing the kegs and doing other work in that space. Others are small, so an employee within the enclosure could find oxygen displaced relatively quickly.

    This appears to be a situation in which there is no dispute that the employee suffered symptoms as a result of exposure, and where the employer explained after-the-fact that there was a C02 issue that led to the exposure.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,587

    Default Re: Workplace Injury Due to a CO2 Leak

    There is a dispute. The OP said and I quote "I was taken to the ER for panic attacks" and "the irritation in my lungs is effecting my breathing and I keep going into panic attacks."

    While he is being treated with steroids for the irritation I've yet to the the OP post anything that a doctor has stated there is actual damage.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,671

    Default Re: Workplace Injury Due to a CO2 Leak

    We are not speaking of CO that bonds with hemoglobin the blood. We are speaking of Co2 that the body expels each time you take a breath. What's your point?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,846

    Default Re: Workplace Injury Due to a CO2 Leak

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    There is a dispute.
    The extent of any claimed injury is a separate issue from whether or not CO2 exposure occurred.

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