Breathing in large amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) gas can cause CO poisoning. If you have experienced carbon monoxide poisoning at work through your employer’s negligence, you may be eligible to claim compensation for your injuries.
Likewise, under such circumstances, you could claim compensation for the death of a loved one. Legal Helpline can assist you if you have a solid claim relating to compensation for CO poisoning from your employer.
Am I Eligible To Claim For Carbon Monoxide Poisoning At Work?
If you wish to claim compensation for carbon monoxide poisoning, call Legal Helpline today on 0161 696 9685.
An advisor will be happy to answer any questions you may have about claiming compensation. What’s more, we can appoint a skilled personal injury solicitor to start working on your claim. Or, use our online claims form to reach us.
Alternatively, to learn more about claiming compensation for carbon monoxide poisoning, please continue reading this guide.
Jump To A Section
- A Guide About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning At Work Claims
- What Is Carbon Monoxide?
- Who Is Most At Risk Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
- What Causes Carbon Monoxide Exposure At Work?
- Common Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms
- What Does Carbon Monoxide Do To The Body?
- Treating Carbon Monoxide Poisoning At Work
- Controlling The Risk Of Carbon Monoxide In The Workplace
- I Suspect A Carbon Monoxide Leak; What Should I Do?
- Calculating Payouts For Carbon Monoxide Poisoning At Work
- What Else Could I Be Eligible To Claim?
- Steps To Take If You Inhaled Carbon Monoxide At Work
- Claim For Carbon Monoxide Poisoning At Work With No Win No Fee Solicitors
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Statistics
- Begin Your Claim
- Useful Links
- FAQs About Carbon Monoxide In The Workplace
Furthermore, employers are also responsible for protecting the health and safety of workers when they are in an environment that the employer has control over. For example, if an employer sends a worker out on an assignment, the employer is responsible for the employee’s safety.
Therefore, an employer is responsible for ensuring that a worker is not exposed to unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.
What happens if you have suffered CO poisoning at work because your employer acted negligently?
In this instance, you may be eligible to claim compensation for carbon monoxide poisoning from your employer.
In this guide, we will explain how carbon monoxide poisoning incidents at work can happen. And we will also look at what carbon monoxide does to the body. We will also explain how to claim compensation if you have suffered brain damage or heart disease because of carbon monoxide exposure.
To see if you can begin your compensation claim for CO poisoning, please get in touch with Legal Helpline today.
Carbon monoxide is an extremely poisonous gas. Carbon monoxide is invisible and has no smell or taste. If a person breathes in an unsafe amount of carbon monoxide, they will experience CO poisoning symptoms.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Mild carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are similar to food poisoning or the flu. However, people with severe CO poisoning may suffer damage to their hearts or traumatic brain injuries. Sadly, around sixty people die of carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales each year.
People working in the following professions can be at risk of experiencing CO poisoning:
- Tollbooth or tunnel attendants
- Garage mechanics
- Marine terminal workers
- Diesel engine operators
- Forklift operators
- Customs inspectors
- Police officers
- Taxi drivers
However, carbon monoxide could also be found in an office that has fuel-burning appliances. Pregnant people, infants and those with pre-existing breathing difficulties are amongst those most at risk of being ill from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The incomplete burning of carbon-based gas produces carbon monoxide, such as natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). In the workplace, a faulty or improperly installed appliance can lead to carbon monoxide exposure. Appliances such as ovens, furnaces and combustion engines can leak carbon monoxide if not properly maintained.
Likewise, a blocked chimney pipe or flue can lead to carbon monoxide exposure. A faulty exhaust system on a vehicle can also cause CO poisoning. Subsequently, people who work in toll booths or underground car parks may experience carbon monoxide poisoning.
If an employer does not take adequate steps to protect their workforce from CO poisoning, this breaches their duty of care. Subsequently, an employer can be held liable if a worker suffers a carbon monoxide poisoning injury. Therefore, the injured worker may be eligible to claim compensation from their employer.
What are the symptoms of CO poisoning? People can suffer mild to severe carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms. Let’s look at the symptoms of CO poisoning in more depth.
Mild Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms
One symptom of milder CO poisoning is a tension headache. In addition, you may experience to following carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms:
- Experiencing difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion and tiredness
- Stomach pain
Unfortunately, the symptoms of mild CO poisoning can be similar to the flu or food poisoning. Therefore if you have experienced carbon monoxide poisoning at work, it may be difficult for a doctor to diagnose your illness properly.
Severe Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms
These are the symptoms of severe carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Muscle spasms and seizures
- Vertigo, where you feel that the room is spinning around you
- Experiencing intoxication, whereby your personality and mental state changes
- Ataxia, which causes a loss of physical coordination. Ataxia is caused by damage to the brain and nervous system
- You may experience angina or a heart attack
- Tachycardia, where your heartbeat is more than 100 beats per minute
- You may become unconscious
You can die within minutes if you are exposed to very high levels of carbon monoxide. Therefore, employers must take reasonable precautions to protect their employees from carbon monoxide poisoning at work.
We will now look at what carbon monoxide does to the body. CO poisoning takes place when an individual inhales the poisonous gas. After that, the carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream.
When carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream, it mixes with the haemoglobin in the red blood cells to create carboxyhaemoglobin. Consequently, the red blood cells can no longer carry oxygen around the body, causing cells and tissues within the body to die. If a worker is exposed to carbon monoxide over a long period, their symptoms may worsen gradually.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can have harmful effects on the brain, the lungs and unborn children. We will now look at the long-term effects of CO poisoning in more detail.
What Does Carbon Monoxide Do To The Brain?
People who are exposed to carbon monoxide over a long time may experience brain damage. Like a head injury, it can lead to problems with their memory, and they may find it difficult to concentrate. The person may also experience vision loss or hearing loss to varying degrees.
Legal Helpline can assist you if you wish to make a brain damage claim after carbon monoxide poisoning.
Can Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Cause Heart Disease?
Another long-term effect of CO poisoning is coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease occurs when fatty acids in the coronary arteries block the blood supply to the heart. Coronary heart disease can cause a heart attack, which can be life-threatening.
What Does Carbon Monoxide Do To Unborn Babies?
If a pregnant mother inhales carbon monoxide, the gas can harm her unborn baby. The baby may experience a low birth weight or behaviour problems. Sadly in extreme cases, the baby may be stillborn or die within the first four weeks of birth.
Please get in touch with Legal Helpline today to make a brain damage claim or to claim compensation for any other injury caused by exposure to carbon monoxide.
People who experience mild cases of carbon monoxide exposure do not always need medical treatment. However, an appropriately trained person should repair the source of the carbon monoxide leak immediately.
Please visit your GP if you believe that you have experienced mild carbon monoxide poisoning. People who have experienced severe CO poisoning should go to their nearest hospital Accident & Emergency ward right away for treatment.
Carbon monoxide inhalation treatments can be available to people who have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning at work. Sometimes the patient will receive standard oxygen therapy. This treatment involves the patient breathing in more oxygen than usual through a mask.
Oxygen therapy enables the body to replace the carboxyhaemoglobin in the red blood cells with haemoglobin. Until the carboxyhaemoglobin in the patient’s bloodstream reaches safe levels, the treatment is carried out.
In other cases, the patient will receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). HBOT involves doctors flooding the body with pure oxygen to help the patient fight the effects of CO poisoning. Doctors are more likely to use standard oxygen therapy than HBOT.
The following mishaps can cause carbon monoxide inhalation in the workplace:
- Workplaces use a faulty appliance such as a furnace that produces carbon monoxide. Therefore employers must ensure that all appliances are installed and maintained correctly.
- An employer fails to provide a carbon monoxide detector or does not repair it when it breaks.
- A faulty or blocked car exhaust can create carbon monoxide gas. So employers should ensure that regular safety checks are carried out on their company vehicles.
- What’s more, employers must ensure that their workforce is properly trained to carry out tasks safely to prevent carbon monoxide leaks.
- Fuel is burned inside and without proper ventilation. Consequently, carbon monoxide builds up in the air. Therefore, employers must not allow gas burning appliances to be used in poorly ventilated areas.
If an employer does not take adequate steps to protect their workforce from carbon monoxide poisoning, this could be a breach of their duty. Subsequently, an employer could be at fault if a worker suffers a CO poisoning injury. In which case, the injured worker may be eligible to claim compensation from their employer.
If you believe there is a carbon monoxide leak at your place of work, you could take the following steps:
- If you see a situation that could cause carbon monoxide gas to leak or accumulate, you should report it to your employer or the appropriate party immediately.
- Likewise, if you or a colleague show carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, you should seek medical help and report it to your employer as soon as possible. Your place of work may need to be evacuated.
It’s good practice to be vigilant at your place of work and to take a proactive approach to spot a potential carbon monoxide leak, especially if you work in an environment where you are most at risk from CO poisoning.
If you wish to make a heart disease or a brain damage claim, or if you’re claiming because you’ve suffered other physical or mental harm because of CO poisoning, you might be wondering how your claim may be valued.
You can use the compensation table below to estimate how much compensation you could claim. In the tragic circumstances that your next of kin died because of carbon monoxide poisoning at work, you could also claim compensation.
|Compensation Awarded For||Settlement||Comments|
|Brain injury - minor||£2,070 to £11,980||This bracket covers minimal brain or head injuries.|
|Brain damage - less severe||£14,380 to £40,410||Victims may already have or are expected to make a solid recovery. They should be able to resume parts of normal life and work. They may still have some persistent problems with memory and concentration.|
|Brain damage - moderate (i-iii)||£40,410 to £205,580||This category has three sub-categories within it. There is a wide range of injuries covered by this bracket and the compensation range quoted here covers from the bottom of (iii) to the top of (i).|
|Brain damage - moderately severe||£205,580 to £264,650||Instances of brain damage where the person is minimally conscious or in a vegetative state and has a reduced life-span will fall into this bracket.|
|Brain damage - very severe||£264,650 to £379,100||The victim won't show much (if any) evidence of meaningfully responding to their surroundings. They will have little to no use of language and could have double incontinence.|
|Lung Disease (c)||£51,420 to £65,710||Disease that causes serious and worsening function of the lungs and breathing impairment, prolonged and regular coughing, disturbance of sleep, and restriction of physical activity and employment.|
|Lung Disease (g)||£5,000 to £16,980||Where there's no risk of malignancy. The extent of anxiety is factored in too.|
We have based the compensation amounts in the table above on figures from the Judicial College Guidelines. This is a publication that legal professionals use to them value injuries.
We have included general damages compensation in the table. However, we have not included special damages compensation in this table.
Please note, the figures in the compensation table above are for illustrative purposes only. To get a more accurate, free estimate of what you could claim, why not contact our advisors?
If your claim for carbon monoxide poisoning at work is successful, you can receive up to two heads of claim.
General damages are compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your injuries.
To prove that your injuries were caused or worsened by the accident at work, and to prove the severity of your injuries, you’d need to attend a medical assessment as part of the claims process. An independent medical professional would assess your injuries and create a report.
Your solicitor could use this report to help support your claim and to value your injuries.
Special damages are compensation to repay you for any out of pocket expenses or financial losses caused by your injuries. For instance, you could claim special damages to pay for the following if they’re related to your injuries:
- Medical costs
- Travel costs
- Care costs
- Equipment costs if you become disabled
- Home adaptation costs if you become disabled
- Reimbursement for any loss of income
You can prove special damages by providing financial documents such as receipts, bills or bank statements.
If you have been harmed by carbon monoxide poisoning at work, you could take these steps:
Firstly, seek the appropriate medical treatment. Should you be critically injured, dial 999 for an ambulance. Receiving the correct carbon monoxide inhalation treatment is important for your safety. What’s more, your medical records could be used as evidence to support your carbon monoxide, heart disease or brain injury claim.
After that, you could collect evidence to support your claim. If you’re not well enough, a friend or family member can collect evidence. Evidence can include any images of the faulty device that caused the carbon monoxide leak or eyewitness statements.
And finally, you can seek a personal injury lawyer to represent you when you make your claim. Legal Helpline could connect you with a skilled personal injury lawyer with solid experience handling accident at work claims. Call our free claims helpline today for more information about claiming compensation.
If you have experienced CO poisoning at work, you may be interested in claiming compensation. However, you could be reluctant to pay an upfront solicitor’s fee. An alternative option is to make a No Win No Fee claim.
With a No Win No Fee claim, you will not pay an upfront fee to your solicitor. Instead, your solicitor will charge you a success fee if you win your claim. You would sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win No Fee agreement) to formalise this.
There are many advantages to making a No Win No Fee claim for carbon monoxide poisoning. Firstly, you are not risking your finances by funding the services of a solicitor, as you will only pay the success fee if you win your claim. In addition, you wouldn’t pay any solicitor fees if the claim loses.
What’s more, the success fee would be deducted from your compensation payout. Therefore, No Win No Fee claims are more affordable of funding the services of a solicitor.
Please read our guide to making a No Win No Fee personal injury claim to learn more.
In the year 2019, there were 53 accidental deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales. There were also 23 deaths caused by accidental exposure to other gases and vapours.
Causes of carbon monoxide death in 2019:
- 29 carbon monoxide deaths were caused by accidental exposure to fire, smoke and flames
- Accidents in the home caused 17 carbon monoxide deaths
- Accidents on the street or highway caused 3 carbon monoxide deaths
- 1 death occurred at another specified place
- 1 death occurred at an unspecified place
To begin your claim for CO poisoning at work, contact Legal Helpline today. You are welcome to call our Helpline for free today on 0161 696 9685. Or email us using our online compensation claims form. Alternatively, ask us a question directly using the chat pop up.
We hope that this guide to making a carbon monoxide poisoning at work claim has been helpful. If you would like to know more, please feel to read these online claims guides.
An HSE guide to preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in the workplace
The Health and Safety Executive answers frequently asked questions about carbon monoxide poisoning
An NHS guide to heart attacks, which can be caused by CO poisoning
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We will now answer some frequently asked questions about carbon monoxide exposure.
What does carbon monoxide do to the body?
Carbon monoxide is poisonous to those that inhale it. It binds with haemoglobin, creating carboxyhaemoglobin. The process stops the blood from carrying oxygen around the body, causing tissues to die.
What are the long-term effects of carbon monoxide poisoning?
According to the NHS, 10-15% of people who experience CO poisoning can develop complications. For example, the injured person may develop heart disease or suffer brain damage.
Thanks for taking the time to read our guide to claiming compensation for carbon monoxide poisoning at work.
Written by HC
Edited by RV