Carbon monoxide exposure at Berkeley site sends 3 workers to hospitals

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Three workers were taken to local hospitals Friday afternoon after being exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide at a Berkeley construction site.

Berkeley Fire Department received a call about the carbon monoxide exposure about 4 p.m. Friday, said BFD Deputy Fire Chief David Brannigan. At the time, five workers were on site at a building under construction at San Pablo and Folger avenues, including the three workers who were transported to hospitals.

According to Brannigan, the construction workers were assembling a gym inside the building using a gas power washer. The gas motor, which contained carbon monoxide, filled the building with gas.

“A small gas engine often produces carbon monoxide in its exhaust,” Brannigan said. “It’s something that should be used outside — not inside.”

The two workers who were not transported to the hospital are healthy, according to Brannigan. Because of patient privacy laws, he could not give more details about the conditions of the three hospitalized workers or name the hospitals to which they were transported.

A BFD press release stated the fire department has determined that no one outside the building is at risk of carbon monoxide exposure.

BFD has notified the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, about the carbon monoxide exposure. Brannigan said Cal/OSHA will decide whether to further investigate the incident.

Check back for updates.

Chantelle Lee is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ChantelleHLee.