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Mechanic in a construction firm died after becoming entrapped in a roofing tar tank truck.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
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 89CO029, 1990 May; :1-2
On November 7,1989, a 42 year old mechanic in a construction firm died after becoming entrapped in a roofing tar tank truck. The fatal accident occurred on a Monday morning at approximately 1000 hours. At noon on the preceding Friday the victim had driven the tank truck to the tar supplier to have the tank pumped out, at that time the temperature of the tar was 5500. The tank was pumped down till the tar level was 38 inches below the access cover. The victim then returned the truck to the warehouse where it was parked indoors over the week-end with access hatch left open to facilitate cooling. Monday morning the victim entered the tank through a 18 3/4 inch access port to repair a faulty valve located inside the tank. The partially cooled roofing asphalt could not support his weight and he became stuck up to his knee level. Several attempts to pull him through the access port were unsuccessful and eventually a new hole was cut in the tank from which the victim was extracted. The rescue attempt required over 2 1/2 hours during which period the victim lost consciousness. Roofing asphalt becomes pliable in the temperature range of 180 - 200 degrees F. it is estimated that the internal temperature of the asphalt was in excess of that temperature. The victim was transported to a local hospital emergency room where he was pronounced dead at 1323 hours. 1. Tanks should be drained completely before entry is attempted. 2. Employers should develop and implement comprehensive safety programs. As part of this written safety program, the employer should develop procedures for entry and work in or around confined spaces.
Region-8; 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; Truck-drivers; Trucking; Tar-industry; Tars; Asphalt-cements; Asphalt-concretes; Asphalt-industry; Confined-spaces; Roofing-industry; Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-materials; Construction-workers
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-89CO029; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-808518
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division