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Warehouseman dies from asphyxiation in salt storage bin in California.

NIOSH 1994 Dec; :1-5
A 27-year-old white, Hispanic male warehouseman (employee #1) died from asphyxiation when he fell through a salt bridge into an air pocket and was buried by salt in a storage bin. The decedent and a co-worker (employee #2) had been instructed to enter the salt storage bin from the top entrance and to use shovels to loosen salt which had stuck to the walls of the bin. Both employee # 1 and #2 were wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), including a harness and lanyard. Two other co-workers (employees 3 & 4) "tied off" their lanyards and attached a manual winch to raise and lower employees inside the bin. Both employee #1 and #2 at work inside the bin when the surface of salt gave way. Employee #2 fell approximately 15 feet into the air pocket below the salt bridge and employee #1 fell approximately 20 feet into the air pocket. Employee #2 was restrained by his lanyard and did not suffer any serious injury. Employee #1's lanyard had more slack allowing him to be buried by the salt. Co-workers called 911 and began to dig the salt away from the bottom entrance to the bin. The Fire Department arrived and the decedent was brought out of the bin approximately 15 to 20 minutes after the incident occurred. He was in full arrest at that time and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was administered. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:44 a.m. The CA/FACE investigator concluded that in order to prevent similar future occurrences, employers should: 1. install devices that prevent stored granular materials from lodging on the inside of bins. 2. identify salt bins as confined spaces and post hazard warning signs at all entrances and develop written comprehensive policies and procedures for confined space entry. 3. address rescue operations whenever workers are assigned to areas where the potential for falls or entrapment exists. 4. provide fall protection equipment and training for all workers who may be exposed to fall hazards and 5. conduct inspections on equipment to assure proper fit and use. 6. not allow workers to stand on or work from the surface of loose, granular materials, capable of bridging, even when the surface appears to be stable. 7. ensure that employees are trained in hazard recognition and safety awareness.
Region-9; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Confined-spaces; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Equipment-reliability; Training; Warehousing
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-94CA009; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-907284
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute