OSHA has issued serious citations against the employer of two employees who died from carbon monoxide (CO) exposure while being transported to a jobsite. The incident involving AJR Landscaping, Inc. occurred when a gasoline-powered lawnmower was started inside an enclosed company trailer.

OSHA initiated an inspection after the Washington Township New Jersey Police Department notified the agency that the workers had died.

The agency found that the Creskill, New Jersey company exposed the employees to CO and failed to train employees to recognize the hazard. The company faces penalties of $17,051.

“Any time there is a gas-powered motor or engine running in an enclosed space, there is risk of exposure to exhaust fumes, which contain carbon monoxide, an odorless and poisonous gas,” said OSHA Area Office Director Lisa Levy, in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. “This tragedy was preventable if the employer had adhered to basic safety and health practices.”

OSHA provides compliance assistance resources on preventing carbon monoxide poisoning at https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/carbonmonoxide-factsheet.pdf.