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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200122471 - Employee Dies From Asphyxiation In Manhole

Accident: 200122471 -- Report ID: 0523400 -- Event Date: 08/14/2003
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30527951508/14/20031623D.F. Tomasini Contractors, Inc.

Employee #1, a laborer, was flushing or flooding trenches (prior to backfilling) in a housing subdivision construction project, but had insufficient water pressure. The employee informed his coworker, the superintendent, that there was insufficient water pressure and they went to check the water valves. The coworker directed Employee #1 to check a water valve in a vault manhole approximately 15 feet deep. The coworker saw Employee #1 remove the manhole cover and went to check other water valves. Employee #1 determined that the valve could not be turned from above by a gate key, since it was a wheel type valve, and he entered the vault manhole to turn the valve by hand. When the coworker returned, he saw Employee #1 on the manhole ladder approximately 3 feet from the top. Employee #1 then lost his grip and fell back into the manhole. Employee #1 died from asphyxiation. Testing at the time of the accident indicated an oxygen deficient atmosphere and subsequent testing (one week later) indicated an oxygen deficient atmosphere and hazardous concentrations of carbon dioxide present in the vault manhole.

Keywords: oxygen deficiency, asphyxiated, confined space, construction, fixed ladder, valve, carbon dioxide, fall, manhole
Accident Details
End Use Proj Type Proj Cost Stories NonBldgHt Fatality
Single family or duplex dwelling New project or new addition $250,000 to $500,000 X

Employee Details
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation Construction
1 305279515 Fatality Asphyxia Construction laborers FallDist:
Cause: Backfilling and compacting
FatCause: Asphyxiation/inhalation of toxic vapor

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