Three die in manhole

GoldDigger

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Staff member
Location
Placerville, CA, USA
Occupation
Retired PV System Designer

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
Occupation
Field coordinator/ technical support
Or could be sewer gas, even though it was a storm drain, raw sewage has been known to get in there. I put remote controls on an underground lift station, the sewer department had only one field employee, and he had to test the pumps daily. He did not like going down into the vault even though it was ventilated. Put the controls at the top of the manhole so he could hear the pumps run without going down in.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Placerville, CA, USA
Occupation
Retired PV System Designer
Or could be sewer gas, even though it was a storm drain, raw sewage has been known to get in there. I put remote controls on an underground lift station, the sewer department had only one field employee, and he had to test the pumps daily. He did not like going down into the vault even though it was ventilated. Put the controls at the top of the manhole so he could hear the pumps run without going down in.
Definitely not a good idea to go down when nobody else is there.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
Definitely not a good idea to go down when nobody else is there.
That would be a clear violation of any confined space entry procedure that I've ever heard of. Same with those three workers. They are supposed to be harnessed and hooked to a tripod with someone topside to haul them out in case of trouble.
 

Cow

Senior Member
Location
Eastern Oregon
Occupation
Electrician
I have a stickied thread in ET's workplace safety section about a near miss we had in an underground vault.

It's like electricity, sometimes you can't physically see the danger that's there.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Placerville, CA, USA
Occupation
Retired PV System Designer
"It's not a confined space, it's just a manhole...."

EDIT: For those who may have missed the point, the above is a satirical remark intended to represent the attitude of some workers who find themselves in this situation.
 
Last edited:

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
"It's not a confined space, it's just a manhole....
I believe OSHA considers most of what is normally viewed as a manhole meeting the definition of a confined space. Especially when viewed from the point of limited egress. Other hazzards can normally be present in such circumstances that would require special precautions. So hope this comment postscript was lol.
I wouldn't be surprised if OSHA issues some fines over this.
 

102 Inspector

Senior Member
Location
N/E Indiana
A follow up report indicated that the workers died due to low oxygen levels and then subsequent drowning. In years past, before all the confined space requirements, I found myself in manholes and feeling very uncomfortable. This accident was approximately 40 miles from my home town and I had worked with the company before and a small project. I find it difficult to believe they did not follow safety protocol, but probably will never know. A father, son and coworker all died due to conditions that might have been preventable.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
A follow up report indicated that the workers died due to low oxygen levels and then subsequent drowning. In years past, before all the confined space requirements, I found myself in manholes and feeling very uncomfortable. This accident was approximately 40 miles from my home town and I had worked with the company before and a small project. I find it difficult to believe they did not follow safety protocol, but probably will never know. A father, son and coworker all died due to conditions that might have been preventable.
Ahh, Geez. Some poor woman is burying her husband and her son? I cannot imagine the grief.
 

Josh111

Senior Member
Location
USA
Unfortunately, this type of story comes up every couple years. There's been a number of these incidents where the multi fatalities are due to people going in one after the other, to check on the other guy when he fails to show when expected.
 

drcampbell

Senior Member
Location
The Motor City, Michigan USA
Occupation
Engineer
"asphyxia caused by a low-oxygen environment and subsequent drowning" ...
"Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating" ...
 

Bluegrass Boy

Senior Member
Location
Texas
Occupation
Commercial/ Industrial/ Maintenance Electrician
Wow! This is very sad news.
Typically whenever I have witnessed guys working in a manhole, they had a blower to push fresh air inside the work area. The company should provide these for their guys. 144FAD3D-BC18-476C-BD40-CABD9D5BDCEB.jpeg
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
My guess is someone who didn't bother to follow the rules because the safety rules only apply to other people. Every few years you run across stories about farmers who go into I'm a newer pit and get overcome. Often someone without the proper training or equipment price to rescue them and succumbs himself.
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
Isn't part of the PPE for entry to enclosed manhole, or pit like this is having a harness with cable and winch along with a top side person that if an incident was to occur rather than another person entering the space just winch the unresponsive person out, or if entry is the only way a seperate air source or air pack for the rescuer. It's a shame that 3 had to die for not following safety protocol.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Isn't part of the PPE for entry to enclosed manhole, or pit like this is having a harness with cable and winch along with a top side person that if an incident was to occur rather than another person entering the space just winch the unresponsive person out, or if entry is the only way a seperate air source or air pack for the rescuer. It's a shame that 3 had to die for not following safety protocol.
I suspect we will find eventually that no safety protocols that were followed at all. They just went in because they done it a hundred times before and nobody had ever died before so obviously it was safe. This is the kind of thinking that gets people killed on a regular basis.
 
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