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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 816819 - Employees Die In Oxygen Deficient Manhole

Accident: 816819 -- Report ID: 0112000 -- Event Date: 06/27/1989
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
10100739106/28/19891731Southern New England Telephone Company
Employees had gone to an underground vault to look for a leak in a telephone line. They had trouble removing the manhole cover, which was a new rubber sealed gasket type. After they had removed the cover, Employee #1 entered the vault and went to place the air test gauge on the receiver nipple. He passed out. Employee #2, thinking that Employee #1 had slipped and bumped his head, entered the vault to prevent him from drowning in the water. Employee #2 also passed out. A coworker went for help after having no luck with the truck radios. When he returned, he entered the vault but felt uneasy and exited. He then put air into the hole (purging). Police and firemen arrived and extricated the bodies of Employees #1 and #2, who were pronounced dead at Danbury Hospital.
Keywords: oxygen deficiency, unconsciousness, asphyxiated, ventilation, confined space, work rules, construction, manhole, communication, respirator
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 101007391 Fatality Asphyxia Occupation not reported
2 101007391 Fatality Asphyxia Occupation not reported

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