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Assistant manager at ice rink asphyxiated by an oxygen-deficient atmosphere in Alaska, May 20, 1991.
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 91-13, 1992 Apr; :1-12
The case of a 24 year old male assistant manager for a shopping mall ice skating rink who was asphyxiated inside a compressor room while attempting to shut off a refrigerant gas leak was examined. The gas was chlorodifluoromethane-22 (75456) (CFC-22). The employer was the owner of a 170 store indoor shopping mall which included a swimming pool and an ice skating rink. There was no safety policy or program in place. The refrigeration system had a long history of leaks. A large leak had been plugged in a makeshift fashion. A maintenance worker performing a routine check observed refrigerant oil oozing from under the doors to the compressor room. The victim, the maintenance supervisor, and a maintenance worker entered the compressor room through self closing doors. The victim was wearing a cartridge type respirator which was inadequate in an oxygen deficient atmosphere. A coworker called 911 after entering the compressor room and seeing two of the workers lying on the floor. The maintenance worker and supervisor were rescued by an emergency medical service team. The victim was not in plain sight, and so remained in the room a longer period of time before being removed. He died of asphyxiation by oxygen displacement. Two swimmers in the pool and rescue personnel were also affected by CFC-22 vapor which had spread into adjacent areas. It was recommended that workers be adequately protected from recognized hazards by installing appropriate engineering controls; that a maintenance program be developed; and that a safety program be designed.
NIOSH-Author; Region-10; FACE-91-13; Accident-analysis; Oxygen-deficient-atmospheres; Maintenance-workers; Work-practices; Rescue-workers
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