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A commercial cleaning company worker dies of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning at a warehouse in Washington State.

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Olympia, WA: Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, 52-21-2011 (FACE 06WA021), 2011 Feb; :1-30
Following a fatal workplace incident, the Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program issues recommendations for protecting commercial carpet cleaners. In April 2006, a 35-year-old foreign born Hispanic male died from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning while cleaning office carpet in a warehouse in Washington State. The victim, who was working alone, had driven his van inside the empty warehouse and parked near the offices he was assigned to clean. He ran his truck-mounted gasoline-powered carpet cleaner for several hours until he succumbed to the CO generated by the carpet cleaner. To prevent similar occurrences, the Washington State FACE Program published the following recommendations for businesses engaged in commercial carpet cleaning: 1. Do not use gasoline or other fuel-powered engines, equipment, or tools inside buildings or areas where carbon monoxide can build up. 2. Work with manufacturers to re-design the truckmounted carpet cleaner so that the unit more effectively reduces or eliminates carbon monoxide in the exhaust gases or prohibits exhausting into the van and work areas. 3.Ensure carbon monoxide detectors with alarms are used when employees work with fuel-powered engines in environments where CO is likely to build up. 4. Use a "Risk Assessment" or "Job Hazard Analysis" tool to identify potential carbon monoxide sources and exposures and how to avoid them. 5. Educate workers regarding hazards, sources, symptoms and control of CO exposure. 6. Ensure that employees work in pairs on new or unfamiliar jobs and that a continuous communication plan is in effect.
Injuries; Injury-prevention; Surveillance-programs; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Education; Training; Materials-handling; Materials-handling-equipment; Workers; Work-environment; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Hazards; Sociological-factors; Racial-factors; Poison-gases; Respiratory-protection; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Respiration; Respirators; Respiratory-equipment; Pulmonary-function; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Mortality-rates; Morbidity-rates; Exhaust-gases; Exhaust-ventilation; Ventilation; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Racial-factors
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
FACE-06WA021; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008487
Source Name
A commercial cleaning company worker dies of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning at a warehouse in Washington State
Performing Organization
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division