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A utility cleanup worker for a brick manufacturer suffocated in a storage silo.

Oklahoma State 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 05OK076, 2006 Feb; :1-8
A 19-year-old Hispanic utility cleanup worker for a brick manufacturer died on August 5, 2005 from environmental suffocation after becoming entrapped in the ground shale contents of a storage silo. Near the end of the victim's shift, he ascended a stair and catwalk system to the top of a 25-foot tall storage silo to verify that the silo was full. When the silo was not full, employees were required to continue to work beyond the end of their shift to add the necessary amount of material to fill the silo. Although the incident was not witnessed, it is believed that the victim entered the top of the silo while the out-feed conveyor was running at the bottom. As the victim entered the silo to kick the contents on the sensor, the finely ground shale beneath his feet collapsed into a cavity below and he was engulfed by the silo contents. When the victim did not return, coworkers searched for him. Coworkers found the victim in the silo and climbed in to rescue him. Emergency medical services (EMS) were called after unsuccessful attempts to recover the victim were made. The side of the silo had to be cut open and the contents drained in order to recover the victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS. Oklahoma Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OKFACE) investigators concluded that to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Install danger signs and guards to restrict employee access to confined spaces. 2. Develop, implement, and enforce comprehensive written safety procedures for working in or around permit required confined spaces, such as silos. 3. Develop, implement, and enforce written hazardous energy control (lockout/tagout) procedures for working around moving machinery and stored energy sources, such as silo contents. 4. Train employees on the company's written safety procedures and the hazards associated with working in and around silos or other confined spaces. 5. Ensure that employees do not enter confined spaces unless trained, have written consent, and are monitored by an attendant. 6. Train employees on confined space rescue operations.
Region-6; 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; Training; Safety-programs; Warning-devices; Warning-signals; Warning-signs; Warning-systems; Workplace-monitoring
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-05OK076; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-613938; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008342
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division