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Mechanic asphyxiated within steam service passageway in Maryland, July 25, 1987.

Authors
NIOSH
Source
NIOSH 1988 Nov; :1-5
NIOSHTIC No.
00186157
Abstract
The case of a 35 year old male mechanic who died by asphyxiation after he attempted to regulate the pressure in an 8 inch steam line was examined. The worker was employed by a small utility company that generated and distributed steam. The company did not have a formal written safety program or written confined space entry procedures. Workers were instructed to work safely. The victim apparently was to reduce the pressure in an 8 inch steam line from about 150 to 30 pounds per square inch (psi). The steam line was located in a concrete vault measuring 10 feet deep by 9 feet wide and 15 feet long. The worker removed several sections of grating from the top of the vault, lowered a ladder and entered the vault. He apparently opened a hand operated valve on the 8 inch steam line. As the steam, at 366 degrees-F, surged through the line, the 4 inch strainer, located about 1 foot downstream of the 8 inch valve, ruptured. The worker proceeded down the passageway to escape the steam until he encountered a louvered door which could only be opened from the other side. The investigation showed that faulty engineering design, due to erroneous expansion and flexibility calculations, was a contributing factor in the rupture of the strainer. It was also determined that the employer should develop written safety procedures including safe entry to a confined space. Had the steam trap been in good working order, the pressure build up that eventually ruptured the valve would not have been possible.
Keywords
FACE-87-64; NIOSH-Author; Accident-analysis; Region-3; Work-practices; Safety-research; Confined-spaces; Maintenance-workers; Mechanics
Publication Date
19881108
Document Type
Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation; Field Studies
Fiscal Year
1989
NTIS Accession No.
PB89-187900
NTIS Price
A01
Identifying No.
FACE-87-64
NIOSH Division
DSR
SIC Code
NAICS-22
Source Name
Division of Safety Research, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Morgantown, West Virginia, Report No. FACE-87-64, 5 pages
State
MD; WV
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