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Carbon monoxide may have played role North Carolina death

The work-related risks most often associated with driving a bus are the hazards on the road. However, one North Carolina bus driver's family believes their loved one was exposed to lethal amount of carbon monoxide on the job. This type of workplace accident is a reminder of the many dangers employees may face while working.

The family of the bus driver, who operates a shuttle for North Carolina State University, was informed that her cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning. Three days after the woman collapsed on her bus, she passed away. According to the woman's daughter, carbon monoxide fumes on the bus caused her mother's death. The official medical examiner's report has not yet been released.

After the incident, investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) went to test the safety of the buses. Their preliminary investigations did not turn up anything suspicious, according to a spokesperson for First Transit, the bus contractor. Those affiliated with the bus operation have expressed their sorrow over the death, but said they will continue to focus on bus operations.

At this point, the local transportation workers' union, which the victim belonged to, is deciding whether or not they should take action. They are awaiting the official report from OSHA before they make a move on behalf of other bus drivers. In addition, the university's student government has weighed a separate probe into the incident, which would be launched by the school.

Whatever the case, the death of this woman was unexpected and the circumstances surrounding her illness are suspicious. If carbon monoxide was responsible for her death, the bus company should be held responsible. Drivers have a duty to safely operate their buses and their employers should make sure their vehicles are safe.

The driver's family deserves answers about the circumstances of their loved one's death. Their healing should not be overshadowed by the concern that something could have been done to prevent this terrible incident.

Source: The Technician, "News reports of Wolfline driver's death," Will Brooks, Feb. 13, 2012

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