A foundry worker died as a result of exposure to methyl-chloroform (71556) while performing maintenance operations on a conveyor drive chain. He was using methyl-chloroform as a degreasing agent. The area from which he was servicing the chain was a pit, 28 feet long, 14 feet wide and 5 feet deep with a permanent ladder. The drive chain was about 2.5 feet above the floor level of the pit. Three windows on the wall directly above the service area were covered and a ceiling exhaust fan was not in operation. The victim was equipped with rubber gloves and overshoes, safety goggles, hard hat, and an air purifying respirator with an organic vapor cartridge. During his dinner break, he had complained to coworkers that the fumes were bothering him. At the end of the shift, a coworker found the victim lying on his side underneath the conveyor and the nozzle still spraying. He was lying 10 feet from the ladder in about 10 to 20 gallons of solvent. A supervisor and the coworker, without respiratory protection, removed the victim from the pit after several attempts. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Recommendations arising from this accident include initiation of comprehensive policies and procedures for entry into confined spaces, including testing of air quality, monitoring of air in space after entry, training in selection and usage of respiratory protection, emergency rescue procedures, and availability, storage, and maintenance of emergency rescue equipment.
Division of Safety Research, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Morgantown, West Virginia, Report Number FACE-86-23, 6 pages