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Warning over portable generators in the workplace
Staff should be better trained and more aware of the dangers inherent in using portable generators in the workplace, a legal expert has said.
Karl Tonks, a partner with Fentons Solicitors LLP, was speaking after the recent death of a security contractor who tragically succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. "It is crucial that all building site personnel are made aware of the dangers associated with the equipment they use," he said.
"As portable generators burn fuel to provide power, they produce carbon monoxide. When using a generator inside an unventilated area, the carbon monoxide can lead to loss of consciousness, paralysis, brain-injury and ultimately death," said Karl.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and poisonous gas that enters the lungs, displacing oxygen from the bloodstream leading to oxygen starvation of the heart, brain and other vital bodily functions.
"It is of the utmost importance that risks within the workplace are managed correctly," said Karl. "Staff safety must always be paramount."
According to the Health Protection Agency (HPA) there are approximately 50 deaths and over 200 non-fatal incidents - often resulting in lasting neurological damage - attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK each year.
"Clear instructions should always be provided to contractors and operators, with checks made to ensure they understand how to use on-site machinery," said Karl. "It should never be assumed that someone knows how to operate equipment."
How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for accidents at work.
If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.
Sources - HSE, HPA
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