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Operator dies in oxygen-deficient compartment of ice-making barge - Alaska.

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
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 92AK036, 1993 Mar; :1-8
On September 7, 1992, a 59-year-old, male barge operator (the victim) was asphyxiated as a result of entering the oxygen-deficient atmosphere in a compartment of a stationary barge used in ice-making operations. The victim was inspecting the condition of a compartment (which had been sealed for approximately one year) because he believed the barge was not properly ballasted. He entered the confined space without testing the atmosphere or obtaining a confined space entry permit. As he was descending the compartment ladder he lost consciousness and fell to the bottom of the compartment (a maximum distance of about 11 feet). A would-be rescuer heard the victim's wife call for assistance over the marine VHF radio, and came alongside the barge on a fishing tender. He observed the victim lying in the compartment and entered the compartment to attempt rescue. He too lost consciousness, but was revived by fire/rescue personnel. The barge operator was pronounced dead at a nearby clinic; the would-be rescuer recovered fully. Based on the findings of the epidemiologic investigation, to prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. ensure that all employees potentially exposed to confined spaces receive specific training in confined space safe work procedures 2. ensure that all confined spaces are appropriately and clearly identified with standard warning signs (currently not required by regulation for vessels "under way") 3. ensure that a confined space entry permit system is developed for each confined space (currently not required by regulation for vessels "under way" and that confined space entries are not performed if the work task can be completed from outside the confined space 4. ensure that appropriate atmospheric testing and proper ventilation is performed prior to entering and maintained continuously while working in confined spaces 5. Consideration should be given to new Coast Guard regulations which would provide minimum standards for confined space entry and work on vessels that are "substantially moored".
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-10; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Occupational-accidents; Fishing-industry; Confined-spaces
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-92AK036; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-007089
SIC Code
NAICS-48; NAICS-1141
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division