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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 14265102 - Freon 12 Exposure In Furnace; Died From Probable Lack Of O2

Accident: 14265102 -- Report ID: 0111400 -- Event Date: 08/19/1985
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
10044656608/21/19853295Stackpole Fibers Company, Inc.
A MAINTENANCE MECHANIC WAS LOWERED BY HOIST INTO A 9 1/2 FT HIGH VACUUM BATCH FURNACE TO MAKE REPAIRS. THE FURNACE HAD BEEN PRESSURIZED WITH FREON 12 AND NITROGEN TO TEST FOR LEAKS. THE EMPLOYEE (#1) WAS WEARING A CARTRIDGE RESPIRATOR FOR ORGANIC VAPORS. ABOUT A MINUTE AFTER HE REACHED THE BOTTOM HE SIGNALLED TO THE MAINTENANCE FOREMAN TO BE LIFTED FROM THE FURNACE. HE COMPLAINED TO THE FOREMAN OF A BURNING IN HIS THROAT AND LUNGS WHEN HE BREATHED. THE FURNACE WAS THEN EXHAUST VENTILATED WITH A BLOWER. THE BLOWER HOSE, INSTEAD OF EXTENDING COMPLETELY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE FURNACE, ONLY REACHED TO WITHIN 3 1/2 FEET OF THE BOTTOM. EMPLOYEE #1 REENTERED THE FURNACE TO INSPECT A HEAT SHIELD LOCATED 12 INCHES ABOVE THE BOTTOM. THE FOREMAN WENT TO GET A PIECE OF GRAPHITE WOOL. WHEN HE RETURNED, ABOUT 30 SECONDS LATER, HE FOUND EMPLOYEE #1 UNCONSCIOUS IN THE FURNACE. THE FOREMAN YELLED FOR HELP. ANOTHER EMPLOYEE ENTERED THE FURNACE AND ASSISTED IN REMOVING EMPLOYEE #1. EMPLOYEE #1 WAS TAKEN TO A HOSPITAL WHERE HE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD. ATMOSPHERIC TESTING IN THE FURNACE REVEALED THE FREON 12 LEVEL AS HIGH AS 16% AND THE OXYGEN LEVEL AS LOW AS 16%. THE CHARCOAL IN THE RESPIRATOR CARTRIDGE WAS ALSO SATURATED WITH FREON 12. THE AUTOPSY REPORT LISTED THE CAUSE OF DEATH AS ACUTE CARDIORESPIRATORY FAILURE DUE TO THE INHALATION OF FREON 12.
Keywords: furnace, oxygen deficiency, respiratory, maintenance, unconsciousness, confined space, inhalation, freon, respirator
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 100446566 Fatality Asphyxia Occupation not reported

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