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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 724955 - Three Employees Killed, 1 Injured From Exposure To Argon Gas

Accident: 724955 -- Report ID: 0521700 -- Event Date: 11/09/1995
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
10872491511/09/19951542Calumet Construction
At approximately 7:45 a.m. on November 9, 1995, Employees #1 and #2 were dismantling a scaffold that was approximately 12 ft above an open 45 ft by 60 ft excavation. Employee #1 allegedly fell into the pit on the west side. Employee #2 ran to the ladder on the east side of the pit to help. He collapsed at the bottom of the pit by the ladder. Employees #3 and #4 also went into the pit by the east side ladder. Employee #3 collapsed behind the ladder on a dirt mound about 3 to 5 ft above the bottom of the pit. While descending the ladder, Employee #4 began to feel lightheaded and weak in the knees, and was pulled out of the pit by two Reynolds employees. Two coworkers, who were fire brigade members, also responded to the emergency. One descended the ladder without SCBA and collapsed at the bottom of the pit on top of Employee #2. The other coworker also started down the ladder without SCBA, began to feel lightheaded and weak in the knees, and was pulled out by Reynolds employees. Employees #1 through #3 died of asphyxia and Employee #4 was hospitalized for approximately one month. Argon gas had been used instead of compressed air to operate a pump that removed water from the pit.
Keywords: oxygen deficiency, excavation, asphyxiated, work rules, construction, inhalation, scba, air contamination, dizziness, argon
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 108724915 Hospitalized injury Asphyxia Occupation not reported
2 108724915 Hospitalized injury Asphyxia Occupation not reported
3 108724915 Fatality Asphyxia Occupation not reported
4 108724915 Fatality Asphyxia Occupation not reported

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