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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200623221 - Two Employees Die From Asphyxia In Manhole

Accident: 200623221 -- Report ID: 0454711 -- Event Date: 09/15/2004
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30818844009/15/20041542B & R Construction Company Inc
A four man crew was working on a new sewer manhole (SMH Number 13). They were going to apply a coating of Portland cement to the base section of the manhole. Employee #1 started to enter the manhole and complained of fumes and exited the manhole. Employee #2, the foreman, entered the manhole. Once at the bottom of the manhole, Employee #2 noticed that the base section already had a coating of Portland cement applied to it. He started climbing up the ladder and when he was about halfway up the 23.5-foot deep manhole, he lost his grip and fell backwards. Employee #1 entered the manhole in an attempt to render assistance. As he was attempting to grab Employee #2, he collapsed. Another laborer drove to a nearby grocery store to call for emergency assistance and the company office. When he returned to the manhole, he and the another employee flagged down a passerby and the called 911. The only cell phone for the work crew was with Employee #2. Units from the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, Shelby County Fire Department, and the Memphis Fire Department responded to the incident. The first firefighter who entered the manhole was wearing a self-contained breathing apparatus and was equipped with a four-gas meter. The firefighter stated the monitor's low oxygen and high LEL both went into alarm mode. He stated he could not remember what the digital readouts were for the two alarms. He checked for vital signs and could not find any on either Employee #1 or #2. Both employees were pronounced dead at the scene by Memphis Fire Department paramedics.
Keywords: oxygen deficiency, sewer, asphyxiated, alarm, ladder, cementing, gas, test equipment, fall, manhole
End Use Proj Type Proj Cost Stories NonBldgHt Fatality
Pipeline New project or new addition $250,000 to $500,000 X
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation Construction
1 308188440 Fatality Asphyxia Construction laborers FallDist:
FallHt:
Cause: Installing underground plumbing conduit
FatCause: Asphyxiation/inhalation of toxic vapor
2 308188440 Fatality Asphyxia Construction trades, n.e.c. FallDist:
FallHt:
Cause: Installing underground plumbing conduit
FatCause: Asphyxiation/inhalation of toxic vapor

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