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Man dies in manhole incident

Dan HolohanDan Holohan Moderator Posts: 11,877
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Hug your kids.


  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,530
    I thought they used portable ventilators...

    Around here, when I see people working in manholes, they use a portable ventilator that takes air from above and blows it to the bottom of the manhole with an elephant trunk type hose that seems about a foot in diameter. Now it is not clear to me if that ventilator always gets its air from an uncontaminated space, since it is usually located quite near the manhole at street level. But it is probably better than what may settle down there lacking a ventilator.

    Is it known if these guys forgot the ventilator, or if the ventilator was bringing in the methane and CO from outside?
  • Dan HolohanDan Holohan Moderator Posts: 11,877
    All I know is what's in this story.

    I'll keep an eye out for more. 
    Site Administrator

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    Hug your kids.
  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)Dave Yates (GrandPAH) Member Posts: 269
    edited July 2010
    confined space entry - clearly violated established safety rules

    That was a confined space entry, which requires testing the air quality continuously - even if ventillating. An OSHA-approved harness and retrieval (manually operated only - not motorized) hoist must also be in place and used to ensure the employee(s) return safely to grade-level. Sewers and septic tanks often displace air (oxygen). Testing the air would have given them adequate warning it was a no-go and continuous testing would have alerted them to impending danger if the air-quality changed - for example: vehicle exhaust causing the CO after entry.

    We use the OSHA-approved gear & have a strict no-go policy for man-down in confined space. Know who the emergency responders are locally & call for assistance. They are the only ones authorized to perform rescue attempts from a confined space.  

    To 'test' your ability to enter and rescue a fallen comrade, set up this test:

    Erect a 24' extension ladder / place an 80-Lb bag of concrete near its base / while holding your breath pick up that dead weight, climb the ladder, and return to the base without taking a single breath.

    Now, contemplate the same failed attempt with a 225-Lb dead-weight & accelerated respiration due to the stress of the crisis.
  • BrianBrian Member Posts: 237
    Related story

    This happened in May. A city worker died in a man hole because of a nitrogen leak. Here's a link to the safety portion of the story, but bits and pieces appeared for weeks.
    1929 Ideal Heating vapor system.
  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)Dave Yates (GrandPAH) Member Posts: 269
    calling Larry from OSHA

    Our 4-gas tester squeals like a stuck pig if air quality is off. That story says the air testing device alarm was only flashing - not using an audible alarm. Larry, if you see this thread, am I correct that the air meter is required to have an audible alarm for full compliance?
  • Larry (from OSHA)Larry (from OSHA) Member Posts: 677
    edited July 2010
    visual and audible

    Dave, you are correct.  Both types of alerts are required although the standard does not directly say so.  In the appendix that offers explanations for how to comply with the standard, it says you need both.

    Even though the news article only said "lights flashing", that does not mean that they got it all right.  It is troubling that emergency personnel can lose sight of their primary responsibility which is to take care of their own safety first.  If they go down, they can't save anyone, can they? 

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