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27-Year-old dies inside of 6 million gallon storage tank, June 7, 1985.
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 85-26, 1985 Jun; :1-5
On June 7, 1985, a father and son inspection team, under contract to a petroleum company, were inspecting the seals between the internal panels of a floating roof and the sides of 150,000 barrel storage tank containing regular gasoline (8006619). The victim entered the tank through the access hatch at the top of the tank and proceeded down the access ladder to the floating panel inside the tank. The victim then walked around the tank on top of the floating panel inspecting the rubber seals between the walls of the tank and the floating panel. The father remained on the outside, on top of the tank. He called the rescue squad when his son was 7 minutes overdue. Two hours after the father reported the victim was overdue, the body was located on the opposite side of the tank, approximately 150 feet from the ladder. An additional two hours were needed to retrieve the victim. The victim was wearing an open circuit, self contained breathing apparatus in the demand mode, but the face mask was found on top of his head, not over his face. The only system of communication between the two men was tapping on the wall of the tank with a small rock. A tape recorder was being used by the victim to record the condition of the tank walls. The victims voice on the tape suggested that the respirator face piece was not in place. Recommendations included developing written procedures for working in confined spaces, constant communication should be maintained between the worker and the standby person, and the use of pressure demand self contained breathing apparatus in dangerous environments.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-85-26; Region-5; Petroleum-industry; Accident-analysis; Safety-equipment; Organic-vapors; Toxic-vapors; Confined-spaces
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