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Driller and service rig helper die in fracturing tank at gas well site - Pennsylvania, June 4, 1992.
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 92-17, 1992 Aug; :1-7
A 39 year old male driller and a 28 year old male service rig helper died after entering a fracturing tank at a well within a natural gas storage field in Pennsylvania. They were a team assigned to monitor the fluid level and wellhead pressure at the well during the final stages of an hydraulic fracturing operation. On the evening of the incident, the coworkers relieved the two dayshift crewmen at the site. They were found inside the tank the next morning by the same two men they had relieved the night before. Both men apparently died of asphyxia due to anoxia and/or accumulation of fumes. The fracturing tank was 37 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8 to 11 feet high. The blow back tank had been bypassed because of a leak, and fracturing fluid from the wellhead was flowing directly to the tank. In order to prevent future similar occurrences, it was recommended that openings in fracturing tanks be covered with physical barriers to prevent unauthorized or casual entry; that confined space entry programs be developed at all job sites where workers are exposed to confined space hazards; and that alternative job procedures used in the instance of equipment malfunctions be evaluated to ensure that the alternative procedures do not increase the risk of injury.
NIOSH-Author; Region-3; FACE-92-17; Confined-spaces; Toxic-gases; Accident-analysis; Natural-gas; Breathing-atmospheres
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