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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 14423842 - Employee Dies Of Asphyxia From Argon Exposure

Accident: 14423842 -- Report ID: 0729300 -- Event Date: 04/02/1990
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
10091331804/02/19903443Nooter Corporation
At 10:00 p.m. on April 1, 1990, Employee #1 returned from lunch to his welding operation at tub #1 in the clean room (aisle 17). He was welding into a zirconium metal tub that had a 6-in.-high rim. He was using a zirconium welding rod along with argon gas (at an unknown flow rate) as a protective atmosphere. Employee #1 apparently tilted the tub at a 45-degree angle to weld a nozzle. He was found unconscious in the angled tub at 12:15 a.m. He died of asphyxia. At a 45-degree angle, the tub was considered a confined space. An oxygen-deficient atmosphere had been created by the argon accumulating in the lower portion of the tub. No ventilation or supplied-air respirator had been used. Employee #1 was working alone at the time of the accident; other employees, including the superintendent, were in aisles 21 to 25.
Keywords: oxygen deficiency, unconsciousness, air line respirator, asphyxiated, ventilation, confined space, work rules, inhalation, welding, argon
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 100913318 Fatality Asphyxia Occupation not reported

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