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A paint maker dies from exposure to dichloromethane (methylene chloride) while cleaning a paint tank.

Public Health Institute
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 11CA009, 2012 Oct; :1-11
A paint maker died while cleaning the inside of a tank using a paint stripper that contained dichloromethane (methylene chloride). The victim was working by himself using a paint stripper to remove dried paint from the inside of a tank. The stripper contained methylene chloride, methanol, and mineral spirits. The tank was a permit-required confined space. The space was not adequately ventilated and the victim was not trained in confined space entry. There was no attendant at the tank opening to monitor the work process while the victim was in the tank. The victim was wearing a cartridge respirator that did not adequately protect against inhaling methylene chloride vapors. The victim was observed unresponsive at the bottom of the tank by a co-worker. The co-worker tried to rescue the victim and was overcome by vapors. The high concentration of methylene chloride in the product, the tank configuration, the inadequate ventilation, and the inadequate training and implementation of confined space procedures were contributing factors in this incident. The CA/FACE investigator determined that in order to prevent exposure to methylene chloride while cleaning paint tanks, employers should ensure that: 1. Policies and procedures are developed and implemented to clean paint tanks more frequently with water-based materials before the paint is cured. If this is not possible, the cured paint should be stripped with abrasive removal methods. 2. If toxic chemicals must be used inside a tank, employees must be provided with worker training in chemical hazard communication and confined space entry procedures.
Region-9; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Employee-exposure; Paint-removers; Confined-spaces; Accident-prevention; Accident-analysis; Accidents; Ventilation; Respirators; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Respiratory-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Training
75-09-2; 67-56-1
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-11CA009; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008468
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute
Page last reviewed: November 12, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division