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Massachusetts concrete plant driver/yardman asphyxiated in materials hopper.

Massachusetts Department of Health
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 94MA010, 1994 Jun; :1-4
On January 20, 1994, a 39 year old male driver/yardman was asphyxiated when he was buried in pea stone in a hopper at an automated concrete processing plant. A concrete mixture was under preparation when the system shut down and the control room instrumentation panel indicated there was an obstruction in the hopper. This was a common occurrence in colder winter months, and it was usually caused by a mass of frozen pea stone creating a blockage. The victim left the control room and scaled the yard conveyor catwalk to access the hopper, which was approximately sixty-six feet from the ground. Approximately ten minutes later, when the victim did not return, the plant owner left the control room to look for him. The owner found the victim in the hopper, with all but the top of his head buried in the material. It took emergency responders five hours to retrieve the victim, who was pronounced dead before extrication efforts began. The MA FACE Program determined that to prevent similar future occurrences, employers should: 1. Ensure that potentially hazardous systems and processes are locked out and tagged out prior to performing maintenance or repair of any kind; 2. Explore the feasibility of covering hopper bins with locked out, reinforced steel, false floors; 3. Explore the feasibility of using a different type of sensing device for indicating problems in the bin filling; 4. Develop, implement, and enforce a confined space entry program; 5. Develop systems for preventing the blockage of material during bin loading.
Region-1; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Confined-spaces; Machine-guarding; Warning-systems; Stone-processing; Stone-products
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
FACE-94MA010; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-108704
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Massachusetts Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division