Laborer Dies of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning When He Operates a Gasoline-Powered Concrete Saw Indoors
California Case Report: 17CA001
Release Date: August 31, 2017
A laborer, working alone in a vacant store in a shopping mall, died of carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of operating a gasoline-powered, walk-behind concrete saw in an enclosed space. The saw was being used to cut through the concrete floor in order to dig new plumbing trenches. At the time of the incident, the space was not mechanically ventilated and had no natural ventilation. The victim was working with an unlicensed plumbing contractor, who was working for a licensed general contractor. The California Fatality Assessment Control Evaluation (CA/FACE) program concluded that the following steps should be taken to prevent similar incidents:
- Only electric-powered concrete saws should be used in enclosed spaces. If a generator powers the electric saw, the generator must be placed outdoors, well away from the enclosed space.
- Employers should train employees to understand that all fuel-powered tools emit carbon monoxide and represent a potentially fatal hazard when used in enclosed spaces.Employees should also be trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, and the limitations of respiratory protection.
- Concrete saw manufacturers should label fuel-powered concrete saws with a clear warning.For example: WARNING — DO NOT USE INDOORS OR IN ENCLOSED SPACES — CARBONMONOXIDE PRODUCED DURING USE CAN KILL. Equipment rental companies should also attach such warning labels to all fuel-powered concrete saws.