We’ve all heard of the dangers associated with carbon monoxide exposure – these days, detectors of the silent killer are routinely installed in homes along with fire alarms and smoke detectors.

The Virginian-Pilot reported today that the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning were felt in Norfolk yesterday, when six employees of a shipyard subcontractor (BAE Systems) had to be transported to a hospital following exposure to “high levels” of carbon monoxide.  The workers were cleaning the tank of a ship which recently returned from Haiti.

Captain Mike Marsala of Norfolk Fire and Rescue told the Pilot that an alarm sounded, as the employees were hard at work cleaning and sandblasting a tank on an assault ship.  Fortunately, the workers were able to vacate the area where the alarm sounded, however, one victim experienced dizziness.  A shipyard spokesman told the Pilot this information, and that the men were transported to Sentara Leigh Hospital where four were treated with oxygen to even out levels in the body, and to ensure safety.  The alarm which alerted the workers underscores the importance of businesses and residences having such devices installed.

The Pilot article elaborates on the job the workers were performing: apparently, they were using a breathing device in the tank of the ship (The Bataan).  An engineer had certified the safety equipment, according to the shipyard spokesman.

At the present time, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident.


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