NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Trauma epidemiology of confined space fatalities and its application to intervention/prevention now.

Reese-CD; Mills-GR
NIOSH 1986; :65-67
The NIOSH Fatal Accident Circumstances and Epidemiology (FACE) project and its application to accident intervention and prevention were discussed. The FACE project was established by the Division of Safety Research (DSR) at NIOSH in response to the lack of data suitable for evaluating the risk of fatal occupational accidents. It was felt that by studying specific fatal accidents as part of a long range epidemiological effort it would be possible to identify and rank factors that contribute to the risk of sustaining a fatal injury. The FACE program was initially focusing on fatal electrical accidents and confined space fatalities. The methodology of a FACE investigation was described. Confined space accidents were discussed. Approximately 200 fatalities occurred each year as a result of confined space accidents. These frequently involved multiple fatalities and resulted in deaths of rescue workers. Two fatal confined space accidents evaluated under the FACE project were summarized. Intervention strategies were discussed. From 1982 to the present, the DSR has investigated 20 fatal confined space accidents. The collected data indicated that 65 percent of the victims did not recognize the work area as a confined space. The confined space had not been tested or labeled in any of the cases. Eighty percent of the accident sites had no confined space entry procedures, and safe entry procedures were not followed in any of the incidents. Forty two percent of the fatalities were rescuers. The authors conclude that recognition, testing, and rescue are inherent problems associated with confined spaces. NIOSH is planning a user guide for confined spaces, a computerized inventory of confined spaces by industry, research into the size of entries, and generation of a warning system (NIOSH Alert) for using organic solvents in confined spaces.
NIOSH-Author; Industrial-safety; Occupational-health; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Risk-analysis; Confined-spaces; Risk-factors; Work-practices;
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings;
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Infectious Diseases; Disease and Injury;
Source Name
The Changing Nature of Work and Workforce, Proceedings of the Third Joint US-Finnish Science Symposium, Frankfort Kentucky, October 22-24, 1986, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division