Oil Field Injury From Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Bakken oil field work is full of hazards and some of the most deadly of these are the ones you can't see. Carbon monoxide poisoning falls into this category because it's undetectable to any of the five senses. This is why most of its victims are unaware of what is happening to them. If it doesn't kill its victim, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause permanent injuries such as brain damage.

How Carbon Monoxide Causes Injury

The blood absorbs oxygen from the lungs and distributes it throughout the rest of the body. Unfortunately, the hemoglobin in blood has a greater preference for carbon monoxide than for oxygen. This means that carbon monoxide rather than oxygen is picked up by the blood and circulated through the body, which starves the internal organs and tissues of oxygen.

The Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

According to WebMD, the symptoms are:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Vision difficulties
  • Seizures

Three Work Activities With Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Forklift Use Inside an Enclosed Area

Forklifts are commonly used in shipping and receiving areas as well as warehouses. When forklifts are badly maintained and used in areas with poor ventilation, they present a danger to everyone working there. Poorly maintained gas heaters used in enclosed areas are also a carbon monoxide hazard.

Truck Driver or Heavy Equipment Operator

An idling truck parked in an enclosed area or one with a faulty exhaust system endangers its driver. Cold, as well as hot weather, cause the truck driver to close all windows and rely on the heater or air conditioner for comfort. A carbon monoxide leak into the enclosed cab can overwhelm the person. The same danger exists for operators of heavy equipment with a cab such as a crane or a backhoe in weather that causes them to keep the cab sealed tight.


People don't often associate carbon monoxide poisoning with welding but the process does emit this deadly gas. It also emits other toxic gases and fumes as well. A well-ventilated work area is essential.

If you were injured by carbon monoxide poisoning or suffered from any other oil field injury, don't hesitate to consult with our lawyers. Contact us today at Odegaard Miller Law.