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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200812527 - Employee Is Suffocated When Buried In Bauxite

Accident: 200812527 -- Report ID: 0627400 -- Event Date: 01/04/2008
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
31130793801/07/20081389Cudd Pumping Services, Inc.
On January 4, 2008, Employee #1 was assisting with the operation of a piece of oilfield equipment known as a "mountain mover" or "sandmaster." The equipment consisted of four hopper compartments filled with sintered bauxite. The hoppers were being dumped, one at a time, through bottom gates onto a conveyor belt underneath the hoppers, for use in well fracturing operations. Employee #1 climbed up on top to open hatch covers to tell the operator when to switch emptied compartments. Employee #1 was equipped with a mobile radio, which he used to place a distress call, saying that he was caught inside the mountain mover. His coworkers responded immediately and found him inside a compartment. It was not possible to determine why Employee #1 entered the compartment, although he may have attempted to retrieve something from the sand. Employee #1 was buried up to his chest in the bauxite, which is a granular material, roughly the consistency of sand. He struggled to free himself, while material was sliding down from the walls and burying him deeper. Other employees climbed in, endangering themselves as well, and tried to dig him out, but they were unsuccessful. Employee #1 lost consciousness when his chest and head became buried and he could no longer breathe. The rescuers climbed out, and the operator was ordered to restart the conveyor, so that they could remove the material more quickly. When the dump gate below him was opened, Employee #1 was sucked into it. His legs were caught by the conveyor, which inflicted severe injury to them, resulting in massive blood loss from the torn arteries. The medical examiner had difficulty in determining whether he died from asphyxia or blood loss from the leg trauma. It appears, based on witness statements, that he was asphyxiated.
Keywords: unconsciousness, asphyxiated, sand, caught between, conveyor, compartment, buried, hopper, leg
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 311307938 Fatality Asphyxia Occupation not reported

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