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Truck driver dies while cleaning out inside of tanker in South Carolina, August 20, 1986.
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 87-27, 1987 Apr; :1-6
A 26 year old truck driver died while attempting to clean out a 6500 gallon cargo tank mounted on a tractor/trailer. He worked for a liquid chemical transport company which had a written safety program and full time safety professionals on staff. The driver had delivered about 4,000 gallons of sodium-hydrosulfite covered with a nitrogen (7727379) blanket in the tank. After off loading, the tank was completely filled with nitrogen gas, anticipating another load of sodium-hydrosulfite. The driver was instructed to pick up a load of clay slurry on the way back. The driver stopped at a truck wash facility to rinse out the inside of the tank; the usual truck wash worker was not present. The driver opened a 4 inch drain valve on the back of the tank, climbed on top of the tank, opened the 20 inch diameter hatch, inserted a wooden ladder, and climbed down inside the tank carrying a hand spray gun. Within a minute after entering the tank, the driver was observed lying unconscious; approximately 20 minutes later he was removed from the tank. The autopsy report listed anoxia due to containment in a nitrogen rich atmosphere as the cause of death. Recommendations arising from this accident include initiation of comprehensive policies and procedures for confined space entry by the employer, and checking to be certain employees are properly trained in hazard recognition and safety awareness for all hazardous tasks.
NIOSH-Author; Region-4; FACE-87-27; Trucking; Truck-drivers; Transportation-workers; Gases; Confined-spaces; Safety-practices; Accident-analysis
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division