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New Bill to Mandate CO Detectors for all NJ Commercial Buildings

US Supreme CourtCarbon monoxide detectors save thousands of innocent lives every year, but surprisingly these low-tech gadgets aren’t mandatory in the Garden State’s commercial buildings – only homes, hotels and boarding houses. This may soon change if a new bill slated to be proposed by state Assemblyman Gary Schaer (Bergen and Passaic) goes into effect. The legislation would make carbon monoxide detectors mandatory in all of New Jersey’s mixed-use commercial buildings, and would also call for regular inspections from the municipalities.

The tragic carbon monoxide poisoning death of a Clifton couple this past December prompted the state assemblyman to spring into action. Alice Park and Noel Korman were overcome by the odorless, colorless gas in a Passaic music studio they were volunteering in. The leak also sent dozens of others to the hospital.

“It is clear and obvious and evident that the safety measures should have been in place a long time ago,” says Schaer, who also serves as the Passaic Council president.

CO detectors may be required for NJ commercial buildings

Protecting employees and inhabitants of New Jersey’s industrial buildings with CO detectors seems an obvious choice for maintaining public safety, but many of our nation’s states only require detectors in private homes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, up to 30,000 people in the U.S. are injured by accidental carbon monoxide exposure each year. Of those, an estimated 500 don’t survive.

New York has recently taken measures to prevent CO monoxide deaths by requiring commercial buildings and restaurants across the state to install and maintain functioning carbon monoxide detectors. The two bills were passed into law last week, after a Long Island seafood restaurant manager died from a CO leak in his building, which was not equipped with a detector.

In New Jersey, supporters of Schaer’s bill have joined an online petition that is asking Passaic to install CO detectors in all commercial buildings, allowing staff and residents to work and live without fear of an undetected leak.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns that common sources of CO leaks include:

  • Leaking furnaces or chimneys
  • Unvented gas space heaters and kerosene
  • Gas water heaters
  • Gas stoves
  • Generators

Advice on filing a New Jersey carbon monoxide lawsuit

In residential settings where a carbon monoxide leak occurs, victims may confuse symptoms like weakness and headaches for the common flu. Prolonged exposure to the gas often causes shortness of breath, mental confusion, blurred vision, vomiting and/or loss of consciousness.

If you or a loved one was affected by a CO leak in a commercial or private setting in New Jersey or New York, you may have a viable claim for damages under the law. Statutes of limitations impose deadlines for filing a carbon monoxide lawsuit in New Jersey, so it’s crucial to seek legal advice as soon as possible after the incident. 

With our main practice conveniently located in Bergen County, the law office of Eisbrouch Marsh represents clients throughout New Jersey, as well as all boroughs of New York City. To speak with a toxic exposure lawyer NJ trusts, please reach out to us for a free and confidential case review. You can reach us anytime at 201.977.4961.

  1. NJ.com, Editorial: Require carbon monoxide detectors for N.J. commercial buildings http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/12/editorial_require_carbon_monoxide_detectors_for_nj_commercial_buildings.html
  2. News 12 Long Island, NY to require carbon monoxide detectors in restaurants http://longisland.news12.com/news/ny-to-require-carbon-monoxide-detectors-in-restaurants-1.9765514