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Insufficient oxygen level in sewer claims the life of plumbing contractor 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 86-54, 1986 Sep; :1-5
A plumbing contractor died of asphyxia due to oxygen deficiency in a sewer vault. The plumbing contractor and two fellow workers were laying out a new sewer line for an industrial building under construction. The contractor descended a 15 foot ladder through a manhole opening to measure a stub out location for the new sewer line. He complained of a strong odor when he reached the bottom of the ladder and immediately lost consciousness. The other two workers attempted to reach the downed victim, but were forced to retreat from the manhole due to dizziness brought on by the same odor. The fire department was notified after about 20 minutes, and a rescue squad arrived 5 minutes later. Rescue squad personnel using self contained breathing apparatus removed the victim; resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. No testing of the atmosphere had been done prior to entering the vault. Neither the victim nor the workers with him were aware that entering the manhole might be hazardous. No confined space entry procedures were used by the workers. The atmosphere, when tested, was 6 percent oxygen, 20 percent methane (74828) and was negative for hydrogen-sulfide and carbon-dioxide. Recommendations arising from this accident included the education of employees concerning hazards associated with their tasks, and the initiation of comprehensive policies and procedures for confined space entry.
NIOSH-Author; Region-4; FACE-86-54; Air-quality; Plumbers; Safety-practices; Confined-spaces; Construction-Search
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