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28 Year-old dies in sewer in Illinois.

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 86-48, 1986 Sep; :1-6
The owner of a sewer service company and three additional workmen were attempting to clean out a 12 foot deep drainage pit. This was the first day on this particular job for the 28 year old victim and for a 22 year old helper. There was no ladder provided for entrance or exit through the manhole into the pit. A rope was tied to a bucket which was lowered to the owner in the pit and was taken out after he had filled it with debris. This had occurred approximately 20 times when the owner, still in the pit, requested a beer and cigarettes. Within a few minutes the owner became euphoric. The 22 year old entered the pit in a rescue attempt with an electrical extension cord tied around his chest, but was unable to untie the cord as his fingers were numb. The victim entered the pit, after pulling the 22 year old out, and attempted to lift the semiconscious owner up the shaft. He was overcome and fell down with the owner on top of him. The fire department arrived within 10 minutes and removed both men. The victim died of asphyxia due to oxygen deficiency. The owner had a blood alcohol level significantly above the state's legal limit for intoxication. Recommendations arising from this accident included the development of a comprehensive safety program for confined space entry and the implementation and enforcement of a safety program by any company contracting to have a service performed on their property by another company.
NIOSH-Author; Region-5; FACE-86-48; Sewer-cleaning; Safety-practices; Inhalants; Confined-spaces
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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