Two laborers die from hydrogen sulfide exposure in a confined space at an organic waste recycling facility [report]

2013 unpublished
California FACE Report #11CA008 Two laborers, 16 and 22-year-old brothers, died while cleaning the drainage system of an organic waste recycling facility. Both were exposed to excessive levels of hydrogen sulfide. The brothers were part of a three-man crew that was flushing out the drainage system consisting of 24-inch diameter underground pipes accessed by approximately 14 manhole shafts. While using a high-pressure water hose to flush residual compost, the 16-year-old was overcome by hydrogen
more » ... sulfide and fell to the bottom of a 10-foot shaft. The 22-year-old collapsed at the bottom of the shaft after attempting to rescue his brother. Contributing factors identified in this investigation were the high concentration of hydrogen sulfide in the shaft, failure to implement a confined space and hazard communication program, and the age of the youngest victim. The CA/FACE investigator determined that, in order to prevent exposures to hydrogen sulfide while cleaning out drainage systems, employers should:  Develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive confined space program.  Develop, implement, and enforce a hazard communication program.  Hire only employees aged 18 or older for any work tasks that may involve confined spaces.
doi:10.26616/nioshsface11ca008 fatcat:jcrxaie37zdxpcqcpnck3xxipe