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Worker dies in 20,000 gallon gasoline bulk tank in Vermont.

Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 85-09, 1985 Mar; :1-6
A fatal accident circumstance and epidemiology report on an incidence occurring in a storage tank is presented. The report is part of a NIOSH project in which data on fatal accidents involving electrocutions or those occurring in confined spaces is collected. On January 30, 1985, three workers were involved in cleaning an elevated 20,000 gallon gasoline storage tank. One worker, a volunteer fireman experienced with using an open circuit self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), entered the tank through a 16 inch internal diameter access hole located on top of the tank. The worker was wearing a closed circuit SCBA. Approximately 1 minute after entry, the worker collapsed face down into a 1.5 inch layer of sludge and leaded gasoline at the bottom of the tank. A coworker entered the tank twice in an attempt to rescue the victim. Being unsuccessful, the fire department was called. The fire department arrived approximately 5 to 6 minutes after the victim entered the tank. The victim was removed approximately 20 minutes later. Resuscitation was attempted. He was carried to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Factors contributing to the accident included inexperience of the victim in wearing closed circuit SCBA, lack of openings in the bottom or sides of the tank, and the victim not wearing emergency rescue equipment. Recommendations include familiarizing personnel with the use of both closed and open circuit SCBA, having working and emergency access and egress plans for entering confined spaces, and having additional portals cut into the tank at a location that permits easy egress in case of an emergency.
NIOSH-Author; Electrical-industry; Accident-analysis; Workers; Nurses; Protective-equipment; Workplace-studies; Hazards; Health-hazards; Exposure-limits; Region-1; FACE-85-09
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division