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Two men die in well cleaning operation - Maryland, May 1, 1993.
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 93-17, 1993 Sep; :1-11
This report concerned the death of two self employed part time well cleaners who drowned while cleaning a residential well. The first victim was a 40 year old male and the second was 43 years of age. At the time of the accident, the first victim was at the well bottom brushing down the concrete casings and shoveling muck from the floor of the well. He became disoriented and was not able to get out of the well. The second victim entered the well to assist the first, but neither was able to exit due to inadequate rescue equipment. The second victim was removed from the well about 30 minutes later by a fireman. Attempts by divers to recover the first victim from the water were unsuccessful until 4 hours later when a specialized confined space rescue team arrived. The first victim died of drowning complicating carbon-monoxide (630080) poisoning. The second victim died of drowning. An investigation identified three major hazards in the well: oxygen deficient atmosphere; toxic atmosphere; and cold water exposure. It is recommended that employers (including the self employed) should develop and implement a comprehensive confined space entry program. Also, identification should be made of all types of confined spaces within the jurisdiction of local volunteer fire departments, and a respiratory protection program should be developed to protect firefighters from respiratory hazards.
NIOSH-Author; Region-3; FACE-93-17; Toxic-gases; Accident-analysis; Confined-spaces; Oxygen-deficient-atmospheres; Rescue-workers; Construction-Search
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division