The Indiana State Fair has come to an end, but the fairgrounds are still busy as always. A clean-up crew was recently washing the floor at Exposition Hall, but a day of scrubbing ended up sending 13 workers to the hospital.
15 workers, that included two employees from the fairgrounds and 13 from a staffing service, were operating 11 power-washers inside Exposition Hall. Soon, several of the workers began to complain of headaches and dizziness. Apparently a build-up of carbon monoxide from the gas-powered washers, along with the high summer temperatures, was making them sick.
It seems the only method to create airflow for the workers was opening the Hall’s doors, but that wasn’t enough to air out the poisonous fumes. Emergency crews soon responded and found high levels of carbon monoxide inside the building. They tested the employees for carbon monoxide poisoning and determined that 13 of the workers needed to be sent to local hospitals.
Upon investigation the Indianapolis Fire Department found that ventilation was ‘not adequate to prevent the carbon monoxide from gathering.’ It also appeared that the air conditioning within the building had been turned off, adding to the danger.
Indiana State Fair officials will continue to look into what happened and how they can prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future. Work will continue on cleaning the floors but possibly with fewer washers and portable fans to circulate the air.
Signs and Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
According to the Mayo Clinic, carbon monoxide poisoning can result in headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, shortness of breath, and even loss of consciousness. CO Poisoning poses an even greater risk to people who are intoxicated or sleeping, and can be fatal before it’s even detected.
If you think you’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide, immediately get into fresh air and seek emergency care.
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Source. IndyStar.com, ‘http://www.indystar.com/article/20120904/NEWS/120904016/13-workers-state-fairgrounds-sickened-by-fumes-sent-hospitals?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CIndyStar.com,’ Jill Disis, September 4, 2012.
Source. Fox59.com, ‘http://www.fox59.com/news/wxin-several-sick-after-carbon-monoxide-incident-at-state-fairgrounds-20120904,0,2930031.column,’ September 4, 2012.
Source. MayoClinic.com, ‘http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/carbon-monoxide/DS00648/DSECTION=symptoms, 2012.