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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 14454730 - Two Employees Die, Others Exposed To Chemical In Manhole

Accident: 14454730 -- Report ID: 0751910 -- Event Date: 01/31/1989
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
10423062802/01/19893111U. S. Tanning
At approximately 11:45 p.m. on January 31, 1989, Employees #1 and #2 were entering an effluent manhole to perform repairs on a leaking overflow standpipe. When Employee #3 went out to check on the employees at the job site, he saw Employee #2 at the bottom of the effluent manhole, slumped over and unresponsive. Employee #3 held his breath and entered the manhole to attempt a rescue. Prior to entering the manhole, Employee #3 had detected the presence of hydrogen sulfide but did not smell it after entering the manhole. Employee #3 failed to rescue Employee #2 and felt tightness of the chest, so he climbed out. After exiting the manhole, Employee #3 lost consciousness for 5 to 10 minutes; when he regained consciousness, he returned to the office for help. Employees #3, #4, #5, #6, and #7 returned to the site. Employee #7 briefly entered the manhole without respiratory protection and left 10 to 15 seconds later after feeling faint. Employee #6 donned SCBA and entered the manhole to attempt to rescue Employee #2. Employee #5, who climbed halfway down to assist Employee #6 in the rescue attempt, was not wearing a respirator and briefly lost consciousness. He was pulled from the manhole by Employees #4 and #7. Employee #6 abandoned the rescue attempt after failing to lift Employee #2 out of the confined space. The body of Employee #1 was discovered. Rescue personnel arrived shortly thereafter and transported the affected employees to the hospital. Employees #1 and #2 died. Employees #3 through #7 were hospitalized.
Keywords: unconsciousness, confined space, hydrogen sulfide, work rules, toxic atmosphere, scba, toxic fumes, manhole, overexposure, respirator
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 104230628 Hospitalized injury Poisoning(Systemic) Occupation not reported
2 104230628 Hospitalized injury Poisoning(Systemic) Occupation not reported
3 104230628 Fatality Poisoning(Systemic) Occupation not reported
4 104230628 Hospitalized injury Poisoning(Systemic) Occupation not reported
5 104230628 Fatality Poisoning(Systemic) Occupation not reported
6 104230628 Hospitalized injury Poisoning(Systemic) Occupation not reported
7 104230628 Hospitalized injury Poisoning(Systemic) Occupation not reported

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