Skip to main content

Lawyers issue carbon monoxide safety advice after Birmingham cricketers treated in hospital for CO poisoning

The BBC has reported that 10 cricketers were treated in hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning after inhaling fumes from a suspected faulty generator. 

Members of Weoley Hill Cricket Club felt unwell whilst practising at the Forward Drive Cricket Academy in Barford Street, Birmingham, on Tuesday night.

The training session was cut short after several members of the club were overcome by fumes from the potentially deadly gas. Participants were said to have become dizzy and lightheaded as the organisers encouraged the young sportsmen to leave the building for their own safety.

Fortunately, those affected by the leak, who were aged between 15 and 45, have all now been discharged from hospitals in Birmingham.

Public health lawyers representing victims of carbon monoxide poisoning

Me and my colleagues in the public health team at Irwin Mitchell have a vast amount of experience in assisting people who've suffered serious illness as a result of exposure to the deadly gas both in the UK and abroad.

Several serious carbon monoxide incidents have been brought to the public’s attention in recent years including the tragic deaths of John and Susan Cooper while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada, Egypt, in August 2018. 

The family, represented by Irwin Mitchell, finally received the answers they so desperately sought when, in October 2023, the coroner ruled that their deaths were caused by the spraying of the pesticide containing dichloromethane in the adjoining room and the couple then inhaling the vapour, resulting in their deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Sources of the silent killer carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide can be produced by incomplete combustion of fuels such as gas, oil, coal, wood, and charcoal. Common sources include faulty heating systems, gas appliances (e.g., boilers, stoves, water heaters), blocked chimneys, car exhaust fumes, and generators used indoors.

Since carbon monoxide is invisible and has no smell or taste, it can be difficult to detect without a carbon monoxide detector. People may be unaware of its presence until symptoms appear, which is why it is often referred to as the "silent killer."

The dangers of exposure to carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas that can be extremely dangerous, and even fatal. Breathing in carbon monoxide can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. It binds with haemoglobin in the bloodstream, reducing the oxygen-carrying capacity of red blood cells. This can result in symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and in severe cases, loss of consciousness or death.

High levels of carbon monoxide exposure can be fatal. If carbon monoxide builds up in an enclosed space without proper ventilation, it can quickly reach dangerous concentrations, leading to asphyxiation.

Certain demographics are more susceptible to the dangers of carbon monoxide, including infants, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions such as heart or respiratory problems.

Safety tips to prevent exposure

Here are some tips for preventing exposure:

  1. Install CO detectors: Place carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Make sure to test them regularly and replace the batteries as needed.
  2. Proper ventilation: Ensure that your home is properly ventilated, especially if you use fuel-burning appliances such as gas stoves, fireplaces, or furnaces. 
  3. Maintain appliances: Regularly maintain and inspect all fuel-burning appliances, including boilers, water heaters, and furnaces. Hire a qualified technician to check them annually for any potential leaks or malfunctions.
  4. Educate yourself: Learn about the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, and confusion. If you suspect CO exposure, leave the area immediately and seek medical help.

Remember, carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas, making it difficult to detect without a carbon monoxide detector. Taking these precautions can help keep you and your loved ones safe from CO poisoning.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people and families affected by CO poisoning at our dedicated carbon monoxide section.