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Worker deaths in confined spaces. A summary of surveillance findings and investigative case reports.
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, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 94-103, 1994 Jan; :1-280
This report was based on information taken from investigative reports of fatal incidents involving workers who had entered confined spaces. As part of the NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program, 70 incidents involving confined spaces were investigated. There were 109 deaths; multiple fatalities occurred in 25 of the confined space incidents, with some fatalities being rescue workers. A summary was presented for each confined space FACE investigated. Several types of confined spaces were discussed, including digesters, silos, pipelines, holding tanks, and manholes. Two major factors at work in these deaths included a failure to recognize and control the hazards associated with confined spaces, and inadequate or incorrect emergency response. Atmospheric hazards include oxygen deficiency, oxygen displacement, flammable atmospheres, toxic gases, and solvents. Physical hazards included engulfment, electrical or mechanical equipment accidentally turned on, falling material, rapidly changing temperatures, slippery surfaces, and noise. Elements of a confined space program to ensure safety were discussed.
Confined-spaces; Accident-analysis; Safety-research; Risk-factors; Epidemiology; Agricultural-workers; Sewage-treatment; Sewer-cleaning; Electrical-hazards; Construction-workers; Breathing-atmospheres; Construction-Search
NTIS Accession No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 94-103
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