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Asphyxiation in Garages and other autoitio
3 1924 003 ■475T12
The original of tiiis bool< is in
the Cornell University Library.
There are no known copyright restrictions in
the United States on the use of the text.
Previous Publicattons Concerning. New York Labor Iaws
CoiB^ilations and reviews of the laws enacted in individual years similar
to tho^e in this Bulletin have been published as foUowa:
1886 and 1887^ — In annual report' of Bureau of I^MS^tatistics for 1887.
1888, 1889, 1890 — In annual report of Bureau oj! Labor Statistics for 1889.
189Si 1899, 1900 — In annual reports of Buieau^of Labor Statistics for each
of ihose years. .'
1899 to 1913 — In J\me BulletijLs of each ^ear except 1911 when they
appeared in the September Bulletin. Similar compilations and reviews were
published .also In^^ltreport SSI; the Gdmmissioner of LabM: for 1903 and 1904.
1914 — In Bulletin,No. 62.
. ,1915 — In Bullei^ No, 72.
Ifll6 — In Bulletin N"tt78.
1917 — In Bulletin No. 84.
1918 — In Bulletin No.'^SS.
„' 1M9 — In BuUetia No. 94.
'*t920 — In BuHetin No. 99,
Bills relating-' to *labor introduced in ib^/ Legislature were reprinted for
1903 and 1904, and indexfed for 1905 to 1913, in the reports of the Commis-
sioner of "^abor for those years except 1913 when the index was publislied
in the Jime" Bulletin. The index for 1914 was published in Bulletin No. 62;
fbr 1915 iaiBuUetin No. 72; for 1916 in Bulletin No. 78; for 1917 in Bulletin
No. 84i and for 1918 iffl Bulletin No. 88. The indeixes for 1919 and 1920 are
Cdmpilatitsns of all New York labor laws in force have been published
1884, X89S, 1897 — la annual reports of Bureau of Labor Statistics for
1902 — In annual report of the Bureiaa af Labor Statistids for 1901.
1905 to 1914 9F In annual' reports ^Bthe Commissioner of Labor. These
compilations were partly annotated^ '
1915-1920 — In separate pamphfets.
A historical review Of Labor Legislatibia -in New York, by A. F. Weber,
was published as a separate monogriei.pli (30 pp.) in 1904.
Of the above publloati^B> files 6f whjeh may be found in many public
libraries, the Department can now sujpply only the following:
Anm^l reports <sf OomiH^sy^ti^.of ittSor; 1904, 1905, 1907, 1910 and 1913.
Separate pampMeis: Only the latest edition (for 1920) is now available.
BulletwB: June, igOSjVSeptepi^r; 1911; June, 1912.
Fbintdd as Past or teb Bbfobo'; ot the Iin>i[7STiuAL Coiqiibsion tob 1919.
STATE or NEW YORK
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Issued Under the Direction of
THE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION
EDWARD F. BOYLE, Chairman
JAMES M. LYNCH FRANCES PERKINS
HENRY D. SAYER CYRUS W. PHILLIPS
EDWARD W. BUCKLEY, Secretary
BERNARD L. SHIENTAG, Counsel
ASPHYXIATION IN GARAGES 4*
AND '■'^V'''' '
OTHER AUTOMOBILE, ACCIDENTS
THE DIVISION OF INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
BUREAU OF INSPECTION
The rapid maroh of modem progress in mechanics has brought
about many radical changes in power production, one of the con-
spicuous examples being tke usei of gasoline, kerosene, and ben-
zine as fuel. Among the more important places' in which these
substances are so used may be mentioned steamships, submarines,
aeroplanes, automobiles, small private lighting plants and small
power plants in factories, mercantile establishments and private
homes. The most important factors in such use are the necessity
of using a very powerful engine with but little weight, particu-
arly for aeros and autos; the great necessity of saving valuable
floor space in restricted quarters; cheapness of th.e installation;
facility with which the fuel may be obtained; the large amount
of fuel which may be stored and carried in a comparatively small
space; and the economy in labor and other outlay required to
operate and maintain such system.
Those engines which may, or necessarily must, be operated in
an enclosed space, or indoors, are' of great importance from the
standpoint of safety and sanitation.
From time to time there appears in the newspapers, medical
journals, safety magazines and other periodicals reports of per-
sons having been prostrated, or killed, by the fumes emanating
from the combustion of gasoline in engi'iies in which this product is
used as fuel, fanciful names as " petromortis," etc., being some-
times given to this pathological condition. The specific factor
which produces this ill effect is carbon monoxide, a colorless,
■ (ylidrlees gas formed by the incomplete combustion of the gasoline.
In addition to this information, reports of occupational diseases
arising from this cause, and reports of the dangerous conditions
surrounding workers in garages led the Bureau of Inspection of
the Industrial Commission of N"ew York State to direct the Divi-
sion of Industrial Hygiene to make an extensive survey of garages
in the State of 'New York for the purpose of detSrming what, if
any, remedial measures were required and to place the necessary
orders, so far as possible, under the Labor Law to correct any
dangerous conditiow found,
4 New Yoek State Industrial Commission
extent of the industry and the survey
In the State of New York there are 459,3i50 licensed automo-
. biles; 138,349 or 30'.! per cent being located in New York City;
and 321,001 or 69.9 per cent in the remainder of the State; 1308
garages and auto repair shops were visited, 341 of which were
located in New York City and 967 in the remainder of the State.
These were situated in 140' cities, villages and towns, representing
every one of the sixty-two counties of the State. .There were
housed or stored in the garages investigated 33,2|93 cars, being 7.2
per cent of the total number of cars licensed by the State. Thir-
teen thousand nine hundred and eighty-one of these were housed
in New York City and the balance 19,312 throughout the re-
mainder of the Stater. Nine hundred and thirty-three or 71.3 per
cent of these garages were engaged in making repairs, some hav-
ing machinery installed, while in others the making of repairs was
done without the use of machines. In New York City 188 or
14.3 per cent were engaged in repair work; while in the other
parts of the State 745 or 57 per cent were so engaged. There
were employed in the garages visited 5,906 men, 2,406 being
employed in New York City and 3,500 in the portion of the State
outside of New York City. In 988 garages, waterclosets were
installed, the remaining 320 depending on toilet facilities located
outside of and remote from the buildings. Wash basins or sinks
were provided in 591 garages, while 717 depended on running
water located inside or outside of the building. Seven hundred and
twenty-two garages were equipped with wash racks for washing
cars. A wash rack is that portion of the, garage floor on which
the ears are washed. This portion of the floor is depressed enough
to carry the surplus wash water to a trap situated in its center and
connected with a sewer. Its name is derived from wooden racks
originally used for this purpose. Twenty-four and fivei-tenths per
cent or 321 garages were found with dirty and greasy floors. It
was found to be much easier to keep clean the new and modem
buildings constructed especially for garage purposes than the old
remodeled buildings and barns.
Asphyxiation in Garages 5
CAUSE QF CASES OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
In every garage, small and large, public or private, there are
times when it becomes necessary to run the engine of a car as a
result of which there are exhausted from the engine products of
combustion, if the proper mixture of air and gasoline were used,
water vapor and carbon dioxide would be formed. These are harm-
less products, unless the quantity of carbon dioxide is of suiB-
cient quantity to cause suffocation. But during cold weather, own-
ers, tenants and employees of these garages are known to have
run and do run the engines of the machines without opening the
doors, windows, skylights or without making use of other means
provided for the ventilation of the buildings, with the result that
numerous cases of poisoning have resulted caused by the inhala-
tion of carbon monoxide gas, which is formed by the incomplete
combustion of the gasoline in the engine. The formation of car-
bon monoxide gas is due to the lack of a proper amount of oxygen
in tlie combustion process. Perfect combustion is never secured
owing to a number of factors, among which may be mentioned:
The gasoline is not thoroughly vaporized and properly mixed with
the air ; the extent to which the mixture is diluted with unexpelled
exhaust gas ; the quality and quantity of gasoline used ; the speed
at which the engine is running; and whether the engine is cold
or " warmed up," the former condition giving rise to a greater
amount of the poisonous gas. The average gasoline automobile
engine, running under ordinary conditions will produce an average
of 2% cubic feet of carbon monoxide per minute, but, according as
the conditions change, this may vary from zero to 12 cubic feet per
OPINION OF VARIOUS AUTHORITIES AS TO TOXICITY OF CARBON
There is a wide difference of opinion among authorities as to
the amount of carbon monoxide necessary, in the air to produce
harmful and fatal effects. Some give rather a low percentage,
while others place a fairly high limit.
One authority states that " harmful effects can occur when car-
bon monoxide reaches 0.3 per 1,000' parts of air, but it requires
6 New Yoek State Industeial Commissioit
one-half hour for the blood to absorb sufficient of this gas to be
The following tabulation is given by another writer, the figures
being based on a normal person breathing for one and one half
hours in repose, viz :
0.25 per 1,000 will cause unpleasant symptoms.
0.5 per 1,000 will produce debility and vertigo.
0.9 per 1,000 will render walking impossible.
1.5 per 1,000 will cause death to supervene.
Haldane states that "0.5 per cent of carbon monoxide in pure
air is just sufficient to produce, in time, very slight symptoms of
poisoning in man; 0.1 per cent may cause a slight headache or
palpitation of the heart in one hour or less ; and 0.2 per cent is
Burrell, in an experiment upon himself, was rendered very ill
for a period of eight hours after exposure for twenty minutes to
air containing one fourth of one per cent of carbon monoxide.
Eule 719 of the !N"ew York State Industrial Code provides:
Every worknoom in which carbon monoxide is emitted or creElted in or in
copneotion with any process of mamifiacture shall be provided with suoh
ventilation that the carbon monojdde shall not exceied one half part in
ten thousand volum'ea of air in any occupied part of such workroom.
Kober and Hanson state:
Gruber says the limit of toxicity is 0.2 per cent. A volume of air contain-
ing 0.1 per cent, may cause distress, headache, nausea and other phenomena.
Others say that symptoms will be produced when 0.05 per cent of the gas is
present. The point of toxicity will vary in individuals; this has been
accurately proved by Haldane in humans and animals.
Lanza (United States' Public Health Service) holds that carbon
monoxide should be considered dangerous when it is known and
believed to be present in amy quantity.
Schumacher and Apf elbach of Chicago (according to Kober
and Hanson) made a series of analyses of gas collected from the
exhaust' pipes of motor cars, the samples being taken after the
motor had been warmed up, a condition which is even less pro-
ductive of carbon monoxide gas (CD) than when the motor is
Asphyxiation" in Gtauages 7
cold. This series of tests gave the following average composition
of gas from the exhaust :
Content Per cent
Carbon Dioxide (COj) ; 6.7
Carbon Monoxide ( CO ) 9.3
Oxygen (O) 1.4
Nitrogen (N) 82.2
Hydrogen (H) 0.0
It was found that headache, dyspnoea, attacks of vertigo,
nausea and other symptoms were common in chauffeurs in large
taxicab garages, these conditions being more prevalent in cold
Five analyses, by the same workers for carbon monoxide (CO)
alone in motor garages gave the following percentages: 0.02;
0.13; 0.04; 0.00; 0.02; — or an average percentage for the five
garages of 0.042.
The Hudson River Traffic Tunnel which is about to be con-
structed to connect New York and New Jersey will according to the
Scientific American March 8, 1919, be ventilated on the assump-
tion that the dilution of the carbon monoxide (GO') to 6.5 parts
in 10,'000 parts of air will render it non-injurious, and that the
dilution of the carbon dioxide (CO2) to 50 parts per 10,000 parts
of air will also render it non-injurious. The proposed ventilation
of this tunnel is based on assumed traffic conditions with 100 cars
on the deck between the two ventilating towers, placed 4,000 feet
apart, and 100 more cars on the ramps. It is further assumed
that each car will produce 86 cubic feet of gas per minute, making
a total of 8,600 cubic feet of gas discharged between towers per
minute; 12 per cent, of this gas, 1040 cubic feet per minute, will
be carbon dioxide, while 3 per cent, or 258 cubic feet per minute,
will be carbon monoxide. As carbon dioxide (00 2) is denser
than air, being in the proportion of .1'23 to .08, 1,040 cubic feet
will be reduced to 680 cubic feet which will require 136,000 cubic
feet of fresh air per minute to dilute it to the determined stand-
ard of 50 parts per 10,000 parts of air, while the 258 cubic feet
of carbon monoxide (00) will require 400,000 cubic feet of fresh
air per minute to dilute it to the fixed standard of 6.5 parts per
8 ISTew York State Industrial Commission
lOjOO'O parts of air ■ — a total of 536,0'00 cubic feet of air per
minute to take care of both carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
That the deadly effects of motor exhaust, gas are not entirely
unknown to the laity is well demonstrated by the following copies
of newspaper clippings , containing news items from two very
widely separated parts of the United States : .
Clever Rat Exterminatoi
Beatrice, N©b,, Jirne 6. — J. C. Boyd, a fanner of Virginia, Neb., has a
new way of destroying the rats which had been feasting on his corn crib.
Backing his tractor up to the crib, he turned on the exhaust pipe through
an extension under the crib. When the job was done, his " crop " was a tub
full of dead rodents.
Gassed the Waoachucks
Winstead, Conn., June 18. — Gassing woodohucks is the latest method of
exterminating them. Elbert L. Fargo of New Marlboro, Mass. was bothered
by groundhogs. Ekner King motored to Fargo's farm, attached a hose to
the exhaust of his automobile engine, ran the pipe far down a woodchuck
hole and started the engine," using a liberal mixture of gas. This operation
was repeated at all the woodchuck holfe found. Not a woodchuck 1ms been
seen since on the farm.
Carbon monoxide poisoning as it usually occurs may be divided
into two types, acute and chronic, according to the amount of the
gas present in the inspired air and the symptoms produced by it.
Acute poisoning is usually accompanied by headache, ringing
in the ears, epigastric distress, nausea, vomiting, weakness of the
legs, staggering gait, first slowing and then rapidity of the heart
action, and hallucinations. In the more severe cases, death may
occur almost imniediately, or there may be produced the following
symptoms: Cyanosis or bluish discoloration of the skin, spas-
modic or labored respiration, slow pulse, subnormal temperature,
convulsions, coma and death from asphyxia or suffocation. Some
of the persons affected are able to get to the open air while others
become unconscious immediately.
- Broncho-pneumonia, mental disturbances, neuritis, cerebral
hemorrhage, and various forms and degrees of paralysis may fol-
low acute carbon monoxide poisoning.
The symptoms of chronic monoxide poisoning, due to the con-
tinued inhalation of small quantities of the gas are headache, diz-
ziness, gastric disturbances, evidenced by coated tongue, nausea,
Asphyxiation in Garages 9
vomiting and loss of appetite, loss of weight, anaemia, rapid heart
action, weakness of memory and general debility.
As many of the cases do not present the typical picture given in
the ordinary text-bookis, it may he well to quote here two cases
personally described by the victims of the gas in the Travelers
Standard, May, 1916:
1. Last fall I spent one evening working in my garage — -a good-aized
douWe garage, with the two doors and four windows closed. After making
some minor adjxistmenta I started the engine, intending to make further
adjustments in connection with the carburetor and the throttle. I -probably
ran the car about twenty m.inutes or half an hour, using at times an extremely
rich mixture. I notice a pungent odor, but attributed it more particularly
to what I thought to be an excess consumiption of oil. I also noticed a
slight but not specially uncomfortable smarting of the eyes.
While sitting in the driver's seat with a 16-candle-power extension light
hooked in the steering wheel and making some adjustments, the room suddenly
became black. I thought when I arrived home that I had turned out the
light, but on returning to the garage next morning I found it still burning.
Immediately aiter the enveloping darkness came on, I felt extremely dizzy.
Getting out of the car at once, I remember picking up my overcoat from the
rear seat and my electric flash lamp from the running board, feeling my
way out of the garage, and cfoaing the door. The seeming darkness persisted
all the time so far as I am able to recollect, though the light was in fact still
burning,- as I have said before.
My only thought at that time was to reach the sidewalk, where I was
sure some one would find me if I became Wholly uncomscious. As a matter
of fact I apparently did lose consciousness before I reached the sidewalk, for
the next morning I noticed' that the knees of my trousers were considerably
soiled fiom the dirt of the drdveway. I do not recall falling. I walked
imm.ediately to the home of a physician, a distance of 200 yards, feeling
extremely cold all the time, and very dizzy, but not greatly nauseated. It
w^s not an especially cold might, the temperature being probably about
freezing. From the fact that I felt so cold I should judge that I was outof-
dooTS for about ten minutes from the time I shut the garage door until I
arrived at the physician's home. After leaving the doctor, I continued to
suffer from the dizziness, but I walked home still a little unsteady on my
feet, retired after drinking a glassi of brandy, and went to sleep. The next
morning I was apparently none the worse for the experience.
The physician who attended this patient made the following
The patient arrived at my house, probably within ten minutes from the
time he left the garage. He exclaimed "What is the matter with me"?
and -was somewhat incoherent. He was trembling, staggered when he walked
into the housei, and was apparently very weak, his chief comiplaints being
dizziness and inability to get enough air into his lungs. His general
10 New Yoek State Industeiax, Commission
appearance indicated fear. His face and hands were cyanosed and covered
with a cold perspiration; the pupils of the eyes were dilated and did not
react readily to light. The pnlse was very rapid ( 140 ) , small and soft, and his
respirations were very shallow and rapid, numbering about 45 to th© minute.
The shallow respirations were frequently interrupted , by an attem.pt at a
full, deep inspiration, evidently produced by the deeire for more air. After
about twenty minutes the cyanosis partly cleared up, and the pulse and
respiration also dropped^ At this time,^ I advised him to go home, which
is a short distance. As he left the housei he was still apparently weak and
walked with a swaying motion and am evident effort. I prescribed plraity of
fresh air and a reasonable dose of stimulant, and the next morning he was
apparently enjoying his usoial health.
2. This man left his automobile engine runniing while washing his oar
in a small garage, with all of the doors and windows closed. He was over-
come by the poisonous exhaust fumes and fell to the floor in such a position
that his head landed in a puddle of snow and water. This partially
revived him, so that by grasping the running board of the car he was able
to get to his feet. He immediately fell for a second time however, and when
he attempted to get up he was unable to do so, and started to crawl to the
door. Fortimately, a chauffeur who lived neaxby, came to the door of the
garage just at this time, saw the man lying on the floor, and went in and
helped him out-of-doors, and later assisted him into th© house. No physioian
was called in this case as the victim did not realize that he had been
poisoned. He drank hot stimulants,, took a hot 'bath and s:uch other pre-
cautions as occurred to him, and then went to bed. He was unable to get
to sleep for a time but finally did so, and the next day was apparently, none
the worse for his experience.
The following cases were actually located and investigated by
those assigned to conduct this investigation:
1. During the extremely cold weather, a number jof men were at work on the
fourth floor oi a five-story garage, all of the doors and windows being tightly
closed in order to maintain a comfortable degree of temiperature; this was
during a coal shortage when there was but little steam heat furniislhed.
One of the men was seen suddenly to collapse and fall unconscious to the
floor; he was partly cyanosed, his pulse was weak and rapid, and respiration
was rapid, 'shallow, and labored. He was quickly removed to a hospital where
he recovered within twenity-four hours, but remained very weak for a few
days. Patient remembers nothing of his fall and was sxuTiprised to find him-
self in a hospital bed wlien he recovered consciousness.
2. Three chauffeurs who had been " joy-riding," arrived at a large public
garage in the early, hoius of a bitterly cold morning and had hurriedly to
prepare their oars for their daily routine. The ears were taken to a room on
an upp©r floor where they closed all of the doors and windows on account of
the bitter cold weather. Some time later the njght watchman, while making
his rounds, discovered the three men lying unconscious on the floor, and had
them immediately removed to the open air where they quickly recovered'.
3. In a garage where a number of large trucks' were stored, eight chauffeurs
were rendered unconscious while they were " tuning up " their cars on a
Asphyxiation iw Gaeages 11
very cold morning witii all doors and windowBi ofi the garage closed. Eemoival
to the open air *as quickly followed by complete recovery.
4. A contraictor entered his private garage several blocks from his home,
with a small car about one o'clock in ' the aitemoon, closed the doors and
windows, and began working on the ca.r; neighbors, heard the engine running
all afternoon and all night, but from' ignorance did not think anything of it.
Becoming alarmed by the failure of his father to return home that night,
a son began searching for him and reached the garage at about eight o'clock
the next morning. Upon opening the garage door, be was met by a. rush of
smoke and gas geneirated by the engine which was still running although
the gasoline tank was nearly empty; when the smoke had ipartly cleared
away so that the son and an officer could enter the garage, they found the
father lying dead on the &oor beside the oar, the cause of death being acute
carbon monoxide poisoning.
The garage was abount twenty feet by thirty feet by twelve feet, giving
an air capacity of about 7,200 cubic feet; the engine had been rimning for
about twenty hours during which time, taking as an average the generation of
2.5 cubic feet of carbon monoxide per minute — 150 cubic feet per hour,
it was capable of generating 3,000 cubic feet of carbon monoxide in a garage
which when entirely empty had a total air space of only 7,200 cubic feet.
5. One of the medical inspectotps of the Division of Industrial Hygiene of
the Bureau lof Inspection received a call at about one o'clock iu' the morning
to attend a young man who had suddenly " fainted." IShe man was foTuid
practically unconscious, islightly eyianosed, with a raipid and weak pulse,
shallow respirations, and his entire body covered with cold perspiration.
Under the influence of heart stimulants land fresh air, he quickly recovered
consciousness, but remained so weak and dizzy that he had to be assisted
to bed. Recovery was apparently complete within twenty-four hours.
The following history of the case was elicited:
The man worked in a poorly ventilated garage where- he began work about
noon. He felt " queer " during the afternoon and was slightly unsteady on
his feet. When lie reached home for his evening meal, he was so hilarious and
his conduct was so unusual that, although he did not, use intoxicanta, hia
family thought he had been indulging in " strong drink." He returned to his
work after his meal and reached home again after midnight. He complained
of feeling ill and nauseated, he started for the bathroom, but fell over imicon-
scious before he had taken many steps. There was no history or evidence
of hia having partaken of intoxicating liquor.
6. A man was at work in a small private garage when he suddenly fell
over in an unconscious condition, and, in falling, injured his head and
shoulder so badly that he was unable to work for about two weeks. On
accoimt of the head injury it was uapossible to -determine th© length of
time he was actually aflfeoted by the gaa. , '
7. An oil separator was found Installed in a large garage, this separator
being placed in a pit about five feet below the floor level. It became clogged
very readily and required cleaning at frequent intrvals. Every time the
men went into the pit, they became ill with dizziness, nausea, and vomiting,
but in this case it would seem that the ill-effects were probably due to the
12 New York State Industbial Commission
inhalation of the unburned gasoline fumes instead of the effects of carbon
monoxide. The ill-effects 'of the inhalation of the vapor "of gasoline and
benzine are well known, but that phase of the subject is outside of the scope
of this report.
In addition to the above, there has been reported by Dr. R. P.
Albaugh, Direotor of the Division of Industrial Hygiene, Ohio
State Department of Health, the following interesting instance of
wholesale carbon niono3i:ide poisoning from the fumes of a gasoline
In a small twostory hotel therfe was instailled, in a small basement room,
a 14 h.p. gasoline engine with a generator for the private electric plant.
A three-inch exhaust pipe led from thie engine out underground through an
alley and into a silencing drum made of two twenty-four-inoh sewer tiles;
from this drum, the exhaust pipe continued and came to the surface about
twenty feet from the building. The engine was operated by the night clerk
who made several trips to the engine room each night, the lasit" visit being
at midnight to shut down the engine and close the building. On one of
these visits, he became extremely dizzy, very weak, especially in his legs,
and was forced to sit down several times on the steps leading from the
basement, but he immediately went into the open nit and had fully recovered
in the course of half an hour. The same condition occurred to a greater
or leas degree each time he visited the engine room during the next few
nights. About two weka after the beginning of these ex)peri©nces, he went
in, as usual, at midnight and stopped the engine, but while in the basement,
he became so weak and dizzy that he could not stand and was forced to coraMl
on his hands and knees to the first floor. In! attempting to ascend the steps
leading to the second floor, the dizziness and weakness increased, a violent
headache ensued, and he fell over unconscious, after calling for Jielp. There
were nineteen other persians in the hotel and as they came out into the
corridor (all on the second floor) in resr[>onse to the clerk's call for help,
they all became so weak and dizzy that they were compelled either to sit
or lie down ; one man was able to call a physician who decided they had
eaten poisoned food, and accordingly administered to each warm milk,
emetics, and later a dose of magnesium sulphate. AU complained of the
same syjnptoms (dizzinessi, muscular weaknesB, throbbing temporal headache,
palpitation of the heart and shortness of breath), three were in a comatose
condition, four suffered with nausea, and two gave some evidence of the
existence of relaxation of the sphincters. While some of them were ill for a
day or two, all recovered in a very short time.
The following day thiere was begun an investigation to try to determine
the cause of the wholesale poisoning. During the course of this investiga:
tion, the gasoline 'engine was started and, withini a very few minutes, all
of the five persons in the room were conscious of dizziness, general weak-
ness, and palpitation of the heart. The exhaust pipe was dug up and it
was found that one of the twenty-four-inch sewer tiles had given way and
that supposed silencing drum was almost completely filled with water and
dirt so that the exhaust pipe was almost totally choked, thus forcing, at each
cylinder discharge, the entire charge of exhaust gas back into the poorly-
AsPHYxiATio]sr IN Garages 13
ventilated basement from which it found it way, through the stairway, into
the entire building. Being lighter than air, this large quantity of oarbooi
monoxide gas. rapidly permeated the entire building and quickly produced
its ill effects on all of the occupants.
It was found that most garage workers were totally ignorant of
the dangerous and even deadly properties of the gas from the ex-
haust ; that others knew the gas contained " knockout properties,"
but did not realize that serious and even fatal results might follow
its inhalation; and, that some believed they acquired immunity
and could not be injured after working in a garage for a certain
There is one fact which cannot be too strongly emphasized and
impressed upon these men, viz : Carbon monoxide gas is color-
less, odorless, and tasteless, and its presence cannot he determined
hy the sense of sight, taste, or smetl; the smoky appearance and
the peculiar odor of ordimary gas from the exhaust is due to other
While it is true, as usually stated, that the greatest danger usu-
ally exists in the small private garages with their small air space
and lack of ventilation, there is also present the same element of
danger, in a greater or less degree, in every garage, regardless of
size, unless adequate provision is made for ventilation of such
efficiency as will keep the carbon monoxide content of the air
diluted below the admitted danger point. This may be accom-
plished either by natural or artificial means, or, by a combination
Seventy-six of the garages investigated were poorly ventilated,
through lack of a sufficient number of properly located doors and
windows, or because the doors aind windows were so located that
they would never be opened during the cold weather.
The investigation revealed the fact that one hundred and thir-
teen cases of asphj'xiation had occurred within two years, twelve
being in Greater New York and one hundred and one in the re-
mainder of the State. There were also found one hundred and
fifty persons suffering from headaches, which they alleged was due
to breathing the impure air in garages.
In addition to the cases noted above, the investigators found
four hundred and forty-three cases of illness not directly traceable
to carbon monoxide fumes, although constantly breathing small
14 ISTew York State Industeial Commission
quantities of this gas might have made them more susceptible to
the im-oads of the various diseases from which they suffered.
Eminent authorities claim that individuals who are constantly
breathing small quantities of carbon monoxide gas will show even
more serious organic changes than those who are acutely
poisoned. Of the above cases of sickness seven resulted in death.
MEANS OF VENTILATION FOUND IN VARIOUS TYPES OF GARAGES
In one case the garage proprietor required the engine of the auto-
mobile to be stopped as soon as the car was inside of the garage;
if any repairs or adjustments were to be made, the car had to-be
backed into the street and all such work performed out-of-doors.
Figure No. i
A good example of louvered skylight on garage roof.
Some garages, one story in height, have louvered skylights or
skylights which can be readily opened and closed, the draught being
created by leaving the doors and windows open ; many garages are
equipped in this manner.
In larger garages, more than one story in height, open stair-
ways and elevator shafts create a ventilating draft which is passed
through the building, the foul or spent air escaping by means of
open windows or skylights. These windows and skylights are
usually so constructed and placed as to prevent the closing of all
outliits so that it becomes almost impossible to raise the carbon
Asphyxiation in Gaeages
monoxide content of the air above the average conceded danger
Numerous three story garages have open inclined runways lead-
ing from the street to the upper floors, with skylights capable of
being opened, situated in the roof above the top floor. Foremen
of these garages, it was learned, had been instructed to keep the
ventilators of the skylights open, but unless this is done ventila-
tion cannot be maintained.
Thirty-six garages were equipped with flexible metal hose con-
nected with the exhausts from the automobiles, which, when
attached formed a continuous piping system capable of exhausting
the products of combustion from the automobile engine to a point
Figure No. 2
Stationary pipe, terminating in a Y for connecting flexible hose to exiaust
of automobile engine; two-inch static suction is maintained on this line
In all cases, except where systems of piping are connected with
exhaust fans, flexible hose of suitable length to reach from the ex-
haust of the car through an opening in a door, window or wall,
should be used. In several instances it was noted that the exhaust
lines were attached to leader pipes leading through the roof.
One of the best systems found was in use in a large flve story
garage in which the principal repair work was done on the first
and third floors. This system consisted of a number of T-con-
16 JSTew Yoek State Industeial Commission
nections with flexible hose sufficiently large to fit snugly over the
end of automobile exhaust pipes, it being posisible to connect two
automobiles to each Y ; these Y's were in turn connected to a two
inch pipe which was gradually expanded to six inches and con-
nected with a large suction fan placed on the roof of the building.
In attempting to determine the power of this fpn, a U-tube which
would ordinarily register three inches of static suction was used,
and, when it was attached to one of the Y's on the first floor, every
drop of water was almost immediately drawn out of the tube.
Working conditions here were found to be excellent.
A similao- device on a larger or smaller scale, according to the
size of the garage and the number of cars contained therein, could
be readily installed in every garage at a nominal cost.
There were found to have occurred, during the past year 2i0'8
accidents, 53 in New York City and the remaining 155 in other
sections of the State. A number of these accidents could have been
prevented had the proper precautions been taken and safeguards
The following peculiar accidents were noted:
In a small country village, a farmer tad converted an old wooden barn
into a, garage, and while vulcanizing a tire in the garage with a hand vul-
canizer connected, to which was a small tank containing gasoline, the tank
was knocked to the floor and the contents becoming ignited, set fire
to the floor. The owner, being alone in the garage, endeavored to smother
the fire with a small fire extinguieher, which proved ineffectual. He then
attem/pted to stamp the fire out with his feet. Has undenclothing caught,
fire, beneath his heavy trousers, wihich acted much as a flue and served to
intensify the flames. He Tan from the building and buried his limbs in a
pile of soft sand, "which had been dumped in front of the garagie, which
extinguished the flames, and in all ■probability saved his life. He was con-
fined to his bed for several weeks and now carries deep scars asi a result of
this unfortunate accident.
A poster calling attention to the danger of fire from gasoline
together with a recommendation for pails, containing dry sand to
be kept handy for use in emergencies of this kind, would in all
probability have been effective in preventing this accident.
In another small village, the proprietor of a garage, located in
a converted barn, attempted to weld a seam in a gasoline tank
Asphyxiation in Garages 17
partly filled with gasoline and attached to a large traction
machine; the gas within the tank exploded, killing the man and
destroying the garage.
In this particular case, had rules been posted calling attention
to the explosive nature of gasoline and gasoline vapors, another
life might have been saved.
In a garage near Greater New York a chauffeur was killed
while cranking a car which was in contact with an electric car, the
batteries of which were being charged. It is believed that the
chauffeur touched some metallic part of his car and received a
shock of electricity of sufiioient voltage to cause death. The police
surgeon said death wag caused by heart failure due to electric
shock. This shows the necessity of exercising care in all places
where an electric current is used.
In another case a chauffeur crawled under his car with alighted
lantern. Gasoline dropping on the latern from the tank ignited
the gasoline in the, tank which exploded, burning the chauffeur on
the head, back and arms.
The 208 accidents reported arrange themselves into 58 classifica-
tions of injury. Of these, 4& accidents were caused while crank-
ing cars, resulting in 21 broken arms, 7 broken wrists and 1
broken rib ; the remainder being of less serious nature.
Cranking accidents could be avoided by using a suitable safety
clutch or installing self starters in the cars.
A large number of minor accidents, such as cuts, bruises, lacera-
tions and scratdhes, some of which resulted in infection, could
only have been avoided by due care on part of the employees.
First aid kits should be placed in all garages, irrespective of the
Fires were reported as having occurred in 27 or two per cent of
the garages, due to a great many different causes, some of which
could have been avoided.
A large hotel in the Adirondacks, with all of its surrounding
cottages, was burned to the ground by a fire caused by the explo-
sion of a vulcanizer in the nearby garage.
In New York City, $100,000 damage was done in a garage by
a fire caused by a broken tail-light igniting the gasoline vapor
thrown out in a back fire of a car which had been backed into the
garage. It is said that a large quantity of gasoline was stored in
18 New York State Industeial Commission^
the oellar of the building, which if ignited would have caused an
explosion of great magnitude.
Sometimes, gasoline escaping from garages directly into sewers,
becomes ignited and results in an explosion, damaging the streets,
endangering the lives of pedestrians and people in nearby build-
ings. This danger could be averted by the installation of oil
separators or traps to prevent the volatile, inflammable oils flowing
into the sewers. Some cities have ordinances prohibiting the leak-
age of gasoline and other inflammable liquids into sewers.
Some of the investigators have reported many cases of smoking
in garages practised by both proprietors, employees and the
public ; also some cases of open forge fires were noted. It should
be made unlawful for any person to smoke or carry a lighted cigar,
cigarette or pipe within a garage or any room or emclosed place in
which any volatile inflammable liquid. is kept.
ISo stove, forge, boiler, torch, flame or fire, and no electric or
other appliance, which is likely to produce an exposed spark,
should be installed in such garage or room; If necessary to install
any of the above appliances, the same should be placed in a sepa-
rate fireproof compartment.
A further study of the accidents occurring will show the fol-
lowing resulting injuries : two broken arms, one broken knee cap.
one broken rib, two burned backs, one sprained ankle, a severed
finger and a head badly bruised and cut on account of slippery
floors, which forcibly brings to the attention the necessity of rules
and regulations governing this type of building used in connection
with the storing, repairing and housing of automobiles.
-A thorough study of the conditions found results in the conclu-
sion that there is only one adequate remedy for the prevention of
carbon monoxide gas poisoning in garages and that is proper and
sufficient ventilaiicm at all times.
This can be enforced under Rule 719 of the "New York State
Industrial Code onli/ in workrooms connected with garages. In
garages which are neither factories nor mercantile establishments
under the law, special rules should be adopted, or laws enacted to
enable the State Industrial Commission to control all hazardous
conditions which might occur.
Asphyxiation in Gaeages 19
It is recommended that in all garages and autoiHobile repair
shops, according to the size thereof and number of cars used there-
in, there be required the installation of one of the following venti-
lating systems, viz:
1. Provision of a suitable flexible hose of sufficient lengtih to permit one
end to be attaxihed to tlie automobile exhaust pipe while the other free end
is placed outside of the gaa:age to permit the disicharge of the exhaust gas
directly into the open air for as many machin«9 as is deemed necessary, or
the ends couM be attached to pipes which lead through the roof of the
2. Provision' of air inlets at the floor level with lair outlets near the ceiling,
the latter consisting of louvres in the wall, windows or ventilating, skylights.
These should be so constructed as to prevent their being tightly closed and
keep ^ continuous movement of air through the room.
3. In the large garages ■wihere a great number of engines are being " tried
out " at the same time, a mechanical ventilating system should be installed
operated by an exhaust fan of sufficient capacity to remove all poisons
ga®es and vapors. Connection with this exhaust system <:ould be made by
means of flexible hose attached to the muffler exihiausts of the engine.
In numerous instances it was noted that inexperienced people
had opened public garages in old bams, buildings and stables
which were poorly constructed, which could not be adequately
ventilated or adapted to the business of garage work. Fire haz-
ards were numerous and the proprietors did not know or realize
the dangers relating to the handling of gasoline and its inflam-
able nature. Many of the accidents described clearly demons-
trate the inexperience of the people conducting these places.
It is also recommended that warning posters to be supplied by
the I^ew York State Industrial Commission be posted in all
These posters should call attention to the dangers of poor and
insufficient ventilation and carbon monoxic^e poisoning, stating
the means for reviving and caring for any possible victims.
The following information in poster form is suggested • and
should be displayed in every garage. This should be prepared and
posted by the Industrial Commission :
ATTENTION — WARNING
OWNERS AND CHAUFFEURS AVOID DANGER
Automobile engine- exhaust gas contains a very poisonous agent
known as carbon monoxide gas which is ordorless, colorless and
20 jSfEw YoEK State Tndusteial Commission
Daily inhalation of very small quantities of this gas will under-
mine your health, while a largeir quantity will at once make you
ill and may cause your death. Remember It May Kill You With-
There is a larger quantity of carbon monoxide gas formed when
you start a " cold engine" than when the engine is " warmed up."
This is also ti-ue when you use a " rich " mixture or " race " the
Adjust your carburetor to get a " Proper Mixture " . so that
combustion will be complete. The engine should never be run
over'a pit used in repairing cars, unless the muffler exhaust is
connected by flexible hose to the outer air, as the pit may other-
wise soon become filled with deadly exhausted fumes.
Remember that the symptoms of this poisoning are headache,
dizziness, throbbing in the temples, weakiless of the knees, palpi-
tation, and loss of appetite. Get Into the Open Air at Onoe.
Never Take a Chance, if you feel any of the above symptoms.
Poisoning by this gas may be avoided by strictly observing
all of the following precautions :
The smaller the garage, the greater the danger..
Provide plenty of fresh air in the garage at all times.
Do not close doors, winidcws or ventilating dlevices while you are at work.
Do not run A, motor in a closed garage.
If you must run the motor, back the car to an open door, or attach the
metal hose or other device to the exhaust pipe to carry tJi6 poisonous gases
out Off the garage.
Immediately remove the victim to the open air, send for the
doctor, and begin to perform artificial respiration, after loosening
tight garments. Continue respiration without interruption
until natural breathing is restored, or for at least three hours or
until a physician takes charge. If natural breathing stops after
being restored, use artificial respiration again. Do not give any
liquid by mouth until victim is fully conscious. Keep the victim
flat. If after being partly recovered he must be moved, carry
him on a stretcher. It is dangerous to make 9,n ill person sit up
or stand. To make him walk may cause death. Telephone to
fire or police station for a pulmotor to produce artificial
AsPHYXIATIOlT IN GaEAGES 21
DESCRIPTION OF PRODUCING ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION
When a person is apparently gassed or overcome by gas dis-
engaged from the exhaust from automobiles, the following steps
should be taken:
Throw the doors open and remove the patient to fresh air as
quickly as possible. If a tank of oxygen and a breathing mask
is at hand, and he is breathing, administer oxygen through the
mask for twenty minutes. If not breathing, give artificial res-
piration by the prone pressure or Schaefer method. Place the
patient in a position that his nose and mouth are free. One arm
should be placed straight out beyond his head ; the other under his
METHOD OF RESUSCITATING PERSON FROM CARBON MONOXIDE
If possible rem.ove the person to the pure air; if not, then open
doors and windows thus affording a good current of air. Do not
allow others to stand around and thereby shut off the fresh air.
Send for a physician immediately but do not delay operations
until he arrives. Begin at once. If the person is still breathing,
and a tank of oxygen and a breathing mask are at hand, administer
oxygen through the mask for half an hour. If the person is not
breathing, give artificial respiration as follows:
Lay the person flat downward on his belly with the head turned
to one side, so that the nose and mouth are free. Loosen all
clothing about the neick, chest and waist. Have an assistant draw
the person's tongue forward and hold it in that position with a
handkerchief. Place one hand of the sufferer under his head
and the other straight out, beyond his head. Kneel down, .strad-
dling the person's thighs and facing his head. Place the palms
of your hands with the thumbs nearly touching each other, over
the small of the patient's back and your fingers over his lower
ribs ; swing slowly forward, so that the weight of your body bears
lightly on the patient's. Eemain in this position about two
seconds. Then with your hands in the same position, sway your
body backward thus releasing the pressure and remain so about
two seconds and then return to the former position. Repeat these
actions, bending forward and backward, a complete respiration
of four seconds, about fifteen times during a minute. Keep the
22 New York State Industrial Commission
patient warm with well covered hot bricks or hot water bottle
but do not bum him.
Continue these artificial respirations until natural breathing is
restored, if not then for at least three hours. If natural breath-
ing stops after having been restored, then resume artificial
Do not give any liquid by mouth until the patient is conscious.
When he is restored, do not allow him to sit up or stand. Keep
him flat. If moving is necessary use a stretcher; by no means
allow him to walk.
Keep the floors clean and free from slippery oils and grease ; also
free from obstruction such as tools, machine parts, buckets, boards,
etc., to prevent slipping, tripping or falling and thus reduce the
possibility of broken arms, limbs or other serious injuries.
Place fire buckets filled with dry sand in convenient places to
use in case of fire.
Piovide self closing metal cans in which shall be kept all in-
flamable waste material.
Do not smoke in a garage or in any room or enclosed place in
which volatile inflamable oil is kept.
No volatile inflamable liquid should be oaiTied about or remain
uncovered in a garage.
First aid kits should be installed in all garages.
It is recommended, in addition to the displaying of the above
poster, that legislation be enacted to amend the Labor Law by
including all public garages in the definition of factory (Section
2, Article I), which should enable inspection to be made of all
public garages where one or more persons are employed at any
kind of labor or manufacturing whidh will provide for the applioa
tion of Article 6 of the Labor Law and the Industrial Code.
The recommendation as to fire prevention, previously described,
should require the installation of traps and screens in sewer con-
nections and the placing of all flame producing devices in fireproof
compartments, separate from the room where the automobiles are
Asphyxiation iw Garages 2'3
All lights for artificial illumination in garages should be
enclosed in vapcfr proof globes, supplied with keyless sockets,
or where lights other than of the incandescent types may be used,
they should be arranged to prevent fire from such source.
Pails of -dry sand, fire extinguishersy or other devices should be
provided for the extinguishing of fire in all public garages located
in such parts of the iState where no ordinances are in force requir-
ing these fire extinguishing devices.
The electric wiring of all garages for motors and artificial
lighting should be installed in accordance with the rules and
regulations of the National Board of Fire Underwriters or mu-
nicipalities in which the garages are located. The use of open
knife switches should be eliminated, or be placed in such parts
where volatile, inflammable gases cannot reach them.
Oil traps should be attached to all drains to arrest the flow
of oil into sewers or. cesspools and be so placed that they can be
suueiins onSH^^^Hire Department of Labor
Special Bulletins. In lOli^Hriarterly Bulletin, formerly published by
the Department of Labor, was superseded by the present series of special
Bulletins on particular subject* The list of these Special BuIletinB is as
Year 191 4
No. 87. Idleneas of Organind Wage Earners on September 30, 1913 (7 pages). Out of mint.
No. 88. Idlenees of Organiied Wage Earners in 1913 (S3 pages). Out of print.
No. 69. Digest of the New York Workmen's Compensation Law (21 pages). Out of mini.
No. 69. (Revised). The Workmen's Compensation Law (47 pages). Out of print.
No. 60. Statistics of Trade Unions in 1913 (148 pages). Out of print
No. 61. Idleness of Organized Wage Earners in flie Krst Half of 1914 (18 pages).
No. 62. New York Labor Laws of 1914 (100 pages). Out of print.
No. 63. Directory of Trade Unions, 1914 (104 pages). Out of print.
No. 64. Changes in Union Wages and Hours in 1913 (116 pages).
No. 65. Union Bates of Wages and Hours in 1913 (186 pageS. OutofpritU.
No. 66. Strikes and Lookouts ia,igi2 and 1913 (139 pages).
No. 67. International Trade Union Statistics (24 pages).
No. 68. Statistics of Industrial Accidents in 1912 »nd 1913 (178 pages). Out of print.
No. 69. Idleness of Organised Wage Eameta in 1914 (41 pages). Oulof print.
No. 70. New York Court Decisions Concerning Labor Laws (118 pages).
No. 71. Government Labor Reports, October, 1913, to May, 1918 (29 pases).
No. 72. New York Labor Laws of 1915 (67 pages). Out of print.
No. 73. Idleness of Organized Wage Earners in the First Half of 1918 (18 pages).
No. 74. Statistics of Trade Unions in 1914 (146 pages).
No. 78. Statistics of Industrial Accidents, 1914 (77 pages). Outdf print.
No. 76. European Regulations for Prevention of Occupational Diseases (77 pages). Out c/ print.
No. 77. Industrial Accident Prevention (64 pages).
No. 78. New York Labor Laws of 1916 (68 pages). Out of print.
No. 79. Anthrax (22 pages).
No, 80. Fatal Accidents Due to Falls in Building Work (26 pages). .
No. 81. Court Decisions on Workmen's Compensation Law (408 pttges). Out of print.
No. 82. Hoods for.Bemoving Dust, Fumes and Gases (23 pages).
No. 83. Dangers in Manufacture of Paris Green and Scheele's Green (18 pages).
No. 84. New York Labor Laws of 1;B17 (63 pages). Out of print.
No. 88. Course of Employment in New York State, 1904-1918 (80 pages.)
No. 86. Dangers in the Manufacture and Industrial Uses of Wood Alo^ol (18 pages). Out of print
[j Year 1918
No. 87. Court DecisiontLOU! Workmen's Compensation Law (394 pases).
No. 88. New York Labor Laws of 1918 (71 pages).
No. 89. Health Hasards of the Cloth Spongiiig Industry (24 pages).
No. 90. A Simple and Inexpensive Itespirator for Dust Froteotion (10 pAges).
No. 61. A Flan for Shop Safety, Sanitation and Health Organiiation (32 pages).
No. 92. Weekly Earnings of Women in Five Industries (21 pages).
No. 93. The Industrial Replacement of Men by Women (89 pages).
No. 94. New York Labor Laws Enacted in 1919 (72 pages).
No. 98. Court Decisions on Workmen's Compensation La# (402 pages).
No. 66. Health Hazardsvf the Chemical Industry (69 poftM).
No. 97. Court Decisions on Workmen's Compensation Law (278 pages).
No. 98. Court Decisions on Workmen's Compensation Law, (114 pages).
No. 99. New York Labor Laws Enacted in 1920 (93 pages).
No. 100. The Telephone Industry (95 pages).
No. 101, Asphyxiation in Garages (23 pages).
Monthly Bulletim. In October, 1915, was be^un the publication of a
monthly Bulletin as the official organ of the Industrial Commission which
now administers the Department of Labor. The puipose of this Bulletin is to
give current information concerning the work of the Department and the official
acts of the Commission. The issues for the first three years are for the most part
out of print.
The Labor Market. In October, 1915, was begun the pubUcation of a
monthly Labor Market Bulletin^ containing statistics compiled from r&tt^S'of
representative manufacturers and city buUding departments. The first issn^ con':,
tained figures for June to December, 1915. The issues for 1915, January to .
1916, and some issues of later date, are out of print.