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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 170632541 - One Killed, One Hurt From Carbon Monoxide In Confined Space

Accident: 170632541 -- Report ID: 0950644 -- Event Date: 01/22/1997
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
11976680601/22/19971795Lu Mar Industrial Metals Co
At approximately 9:50 a.m. on January 22, 1997, Employees #1 and #2 arrived at a demolition site to salvage the bottom part of a cardboard baler that was imbedded in an approximately 4 ft deep concrete pit. They uncovered the 29 in. by 38 in. opening to the pit and looked at the bottom, Both workers suffered from burning eyes, and Employee #1 went into the pit to investigate. He climbed up again to get a water hose because he said it was very hot down there. After putting the hose in the pit, Employee #1 went down again and Employee #2 followed. Both workers experienced chest tightness, difficulty breathing, and burning eyes, and decided to exit because of the intolerable conditions. Employee #2 climbed up first. Employee #1 was behind him, about halfway up the ladder, when he was overcome by the fumes and fell into the pit on his back. Employee #2 re-entered the pit to help Employee #1, who was already unconscious, but could not lift him up. Employee #2 then climbed out and asked workers of American Wrecking for help. Employee #1 was killed. Subsequent investigation revealed that on January 21, Employee #1 had used a cutting torch on a metal attachment and had started a fire the in the bottom of the pit. The flames had been put out by throwing down sand and dirt from the top of the pit. The fire was not completely extinguished and might have continued to smolder overnight, causing carbon monoxide to build up. This accident resulted from failure to follow well-established confined space work standards. The employer was cited for serious violations of T8CCR 5158(c)(1)(a); T8CCR 5158(d)(2); T8CCR 5158(d)(3); T8CCR 5158(e)(1)(b); and T8CCR 5158(e)(1)(e)(2).
Keywords: asphyxiated, confined space, fire, construction, inhalation, pit, chemical vapor, poisoning, overexposure, carbon monoxide
End Use Proj Type Proj Cost Stories NonBldgHt Fatality
Commercial building Demolition Under $50,000 1 X
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation Construction
1 119766806 Fatality Asphyxia Welders and cutters FallDist:
Cause: Steel Erection Of Solid Web-Connecting
FatCause: Asphyxiation/inhalation of toxic vapor
2 119766806 Hospitalized injury Asphyxia Welders and cutters FallDist:
Cause: Steel Erection Of Solid Web-Connecting
FatCause: Asphyxiation/inhalation of toxic vapor

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