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Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Confined Space Incident Log

Companies with active safety and health programs that train workers to identify hazardous conditions and use required protective measures can prevent serious and fatal injuries.

Father and Two Sons Killed in Grain Silo

Centre County siloIn Centre County, PA, three family members died in a grain silo incident. A father, age 47, and his sons ages 14 and 19 all died after becoming trapped inside a silo. The family members reportedly died from asphyxiation due to gasses in the silo. Neighbors said it was a ripple effect with one going in to help the next when they all eventually succumbed to the hazardous atmosphere inside the space.


Tankers Can Be Death Traps

A 48-year-old worker entered a tanker-tailer in Lemont, IL, to inspect it as part of an annual U.S. Department of Transportation requirement and was overcome by exposure to bleach and chlorine gas. The worker was found unconscious in the tanker-trailer; however, he later died of his injuries.

An OSHA investigation determined that the worker’s employer had failed to:

  1. identify and evaluate atmospheric hazards in the confined space,
  2. train workers on the confined space program, and
  3. ensure employees filled out a confined space permit before entry into a confined space.

OSHA also found that the employer failed to equip the worker rescuing the unconscious employee with a retrieval system, implement its own procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services and numerous other violations of its permit-required confined space regulations.

The company was also cited for failing to provide fall protection to an employee working on top of tanker trailers and providing training on fall hazards, respirators, and hazard communication.

The Chicago regional office established a Regional Emphasis Program in 2021 due to the dangers involved in inspecting tanker-trailers. The program is designed to reduce the risks tank cleaning workers face.

“In recent years, OSHA has investigated instances in which workers suffered tragic injuries because employers failed to follow appropriate procedures for ensuring healthy atmospheric conditions inside a confined space and use of adequate respiratory protection before allowing workers to enter tanks,” explained the OSHA Area Director.

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