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Two dead, one critical in confined space incident in New York.
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 86-34, 1986 Jul; :1-7
As a result of a confined space incident in a degreasing tank, three workers died. The manager, the foreman, and a laborer at a metal products finishing operations facility were cleaning out a trichloroethylene (79016) degreasing tank on a Saturday. They were alone in the building at the time of the accident. The tank was cleaned three or four times a year on a weekend when the facility was closed. The degreaser tank was 8 feet high, 30 feet long, and 6 feet deep with a 30 by 40 inch opening at each end. The usual procedure was to shut off steam, drain the tank, open the bottom doors and allow the tank to cool and vent overnight. One man was then to enter via a ladder, remove fallen metal parts, place them in a box, and pass the box to a worker on the outside. The third man was to stand by to assist. The three men were to rotate their spots every 5 minutes. There were no witnesses to this accident as the men arrived at the building at 7:30am and were discovered in the tank and unresponsive at 7:30pm. Metal debris had been cleaned out of the tank. The trichloroethylene had not been drained off and its temperature was 100 degrees-F. There was no sign of a ladder used for entry. All three men died. Recommendations arising from this accident include: making certain employees are aware of hazards associated with their jobs; development and implementation of a written safety and training program; and development of comprehensive policies and procedures for confined space entry.
NIOSH-Author; Region-2; FACE-86-34; Cleaning-compounds; Organic-solvents; Chlorinated-ethylenes; Confined-spaces; Metal-finishing
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