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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200925485 - Employee Is Overcome By Hydrogen Sulfide

Accident: 200925485 -- Report ID: 0355124 -- Event Date: 07/08/2008
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
31238888707/08/20081623Precon Construction Company
The pipe laying crew assigned to the jobsite was responsible for replacing a 45-ft section of sewage pipe to an already existing sewage system. At approximately 8:15 a.m. Employee #1, the foreman, directed Employee #2, a pipe layer, into a 10-ft deep manhole to secure a leaking air plug that had jarred loose from installing the trench box and shields. Employee #2 entered the manhole to secure the air plug, became short of breath, and ascended to the top of the manhole to take a short break to wipe his face. Employee #2 descended the manhole ladder to secure the air plug, was overcome by hydrogen sulfide and fell approximately 5-ft to the bottom of the bottom of the manhole. The manhole attendant screamed for help and Employee #1 descended the manhole ladder in an attempt of rescue the unconscious Employee #2. Employee #1 was then overcome by hydrogen sulfide, loss consciousness, and fell to the bottom of the manhole. At approximately 8:25 a.m. the excavator operator called Emergency Services and prevented any employee from entering the manhole. The excavator operator responded by directing air from the compressor into the manhole enough for both employees to regain consciousness. A strap was fixed to the excavator bucket and lowered into the manhole to help the employees escape. Employee #1 used the strap and manhole ladder to extricate himself from the manhole. Employee #1 had also used the strap and manhole ladder, but fell back into the manhole once before escaping. At approximately 8:30 a.m. the Fire and Rescue Squad arrived to administer medical treatment until the ambulances arrived. Both men were sent via ambulance to the hospital. Employee #1 was admitted to the hospital for two days for hydrogen sulfide poisoning and head contusions. Employee #2 was seen in the trauma center for hydrogen sulfide poisoning, neck, head and knee contusions and was released that day. No confined space permit, atmospheric testing, or monitoring was completed prior to employees entering manhole. The injury line in the original report does not list Employee #2.
Keywords: knee, head, confined space, hydrogen sulfide, construction, neck, manhole, overexposure, contusion
End Use Proj Type Proj Cost Stories NonBldgHt Fatality
Commercial building Maintenance or repair $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 1 5
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation Construction
1 312388887 Hospitalized injury Other Supervisors; plumbers, pipefitters & steamfitters FallDist:
Cause: Installing underground plumbing conduit
FatCause: Other

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