While the temptation to ‘warm up’ a vehicle’s engine or undertake minor repairs requiring running engines with your garage door closed may be overwhelming during wet and cold seasons, this is not something anyone should ever consider. The reason for this is the presence of potentially lethal levels of carbon monoxide, or CO.
About carbon monoxide
Highly toxic, CO is produced when fuel is burned incompletely. Typical internal vehicle combustion engines can produce exceptionally high carbon monoxide concentrations. While changes in fuel, emission control devices and engine design in general have reduced CO emissions dramatically, operating vehicles in enclosed spaces still exposes operators to the risk of suffering personal injuries by carbon monoxide poisoning.
Effects of CO poisoning
Reducing the amount of oxygen available to the brain and causing a kind of CO intoxication, carbon monoxide reduces reasoning and may cause people to collapse before realising that there may be a problem. Once unconscious, the victim of such an unfortunate garage accident is killed by the ever increasing levels of CO soon after. Lack of oxygen to the brain could potentially leave survivors with permanent brain damage.
According to studies conducted by the USA’s Centre for Disease Control, CO concentrations of immediate danger to a person’s health and life consist of 1200 ppm (parts per million). This is reached, for instance, within just seven minutes when operating a small five horsepower engine within an enclosed 10,000 cubic foot space. Poorly tuned vehicle engines running in smaller spaces than this can raise these levels even quicker.
Professional garages and car washes
Owners and operators of professional garages, workshops and car washes must ensure adequate ventilation to prevent CO levels from accumulating to potentially dangerous levels, at all times. Failure to do this may result in employees suffering CO-related accidents at work or members of the public being injured in a car wash, for instance.
Right to receive compensation
If you or a member of your family suffered CO poisoning at work or while using a car wash through lack of ventilation, you may be entitled to claim for work injury compensation or make a public liability claim. Like other personal injury claims, claims relating to CO-related injuries can be filed within three years of the car wash or work-related accident by calling Accident Advice Helpline. Calls are free and claim assistance is provided under no win no fee* agreements.
Date Published: September 30, 2014
Author: Accident Advice