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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 68133.015 - Employee Gauging Tank Dies From Exposure To Hydrocarbon Gase

Accident: 68133.015 -- Report ID: 0830500 -- Event Date: 07/13/2014
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
985693.01507/14/2014Now Or Never Trucking, Inc.
At 12:30 p.m. on July 13, 2014, an employee was working for a firm that provided support activities for oil and gas operations. He was gauging and obtaining samples of crude oil from a tank. The tank held approximately 1,500 liters (400 gallons). It was interconnected with other tanks in a battery. The tank in question not in production, but interconnected tanks were producing. A thief hatch on top of the tank provided access to the tank. It was less than 200 millimeters (8 inches) in diameter. It was open. Gases evolved by producing tanks vented through the open thief hatch. Hydrocarbon gases, including methane and propane, were being actively generated. They were escaping through the thief hatch. The employee was wearing a half-mask air-purifying respirator with a multi-function cartridge. The employee had been wearing a 4-gas meter, but he had turned it off following multiple LEL (lower explosive limit) and percent O2 alarms. The employee was found collapsed over the thief hatch. He was unresponsive, and he was declared dead. The 4-gas meter's datalogger was checked. According to the data the 4-gas meter collected before it was turned off, the employee was working in an oxygen-deficient atmosphere (and over-range LEL) for at least 5 minutes before he turned off the alarm. It was thought that the employee died within 30 minutes of turning off the 4-gas meter. the coroner believes that the employee either was asphyxiated or sustained a cardiac arrest during exposure to a large concentration of flammable gases and associated low oxygen level.
Keywords: oxygen, respirator, toxic fumes, chemical, methane, oil well drilling/servicing, work rules, asphyxiated, propane, oxygen deficiency, toxic atmosphere, ppe
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 985693.015 59 M Fatality Asphyxia Truck drivers, heavy
2 985693.015 59 M Fatality Asphyxia Truck drivers, heavy
3 985693.015 59 M Fatality Asphyxia Truck drivers, heavy

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