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Two dead, two critical in industrial septic tank in Georgia.
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 86-38, 1986 Aug; :1-6
During the pumping out of industrial waste from a tank at a chicken hatchery, four employees of a septic tank service company were overcome by toxic fumes; three of the workers died. The tank held 2000 gallons of waste water including chlorinated caustic cleaners, residue from egg disinfectant, chick down, and some afterbirth and egg shells. The firm had been contracted to clean out the tank every 2 months, including removing sludge from inside the tank. The same procedure had been used for 5 years. The liquid was pumped out and one worker entered the tank to loosen and remove sludge from the bottom and sides of the tank. This worker was overcome in the tank. A second worker entered the tank to aid the first, but was also overcome. Similarly, a third and fourth worker entered the tank and were overcome. Prior to entering the tank himself, the fourth worker had requested help at the hatchery. The fire department arrived at the scene within 10 minutes; rescuers using self contained breathing apparatus removed the men. Two men were dead on arrival at the hospital and a third died a week later. The cause of death was hemorrhagic pneumonitis as a result of chlorine (7782505) exposure. Recommendations arising from this accident include: the implementation and enforcement of a safety program by a contractor when companies hire outside firms to do work at their facility; and the development by the septic tank service company of comprehensive policies and procedures for confined space entry.
NIOSH-Author; Region-4; FACE-86-38; Sewer-cleaning; Industrial-wastes; Waste-disposal-systems; Safety-practices; Toxic-gases; Confined-spaces
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
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