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Worker collapses, dies in poorly ventilated space

Gas filled chamber death
Gas filled chamber death

An employee suffered a deadly fall in suffocating conditions.

A 3.8 metre deep chamber had inadequate and untested air circulation when a crew member fatally collapsed.

Authorities recently examined circumstances surrounding the workplace tragedy which occurred on 19 July 2023 at an undisclosed site.

“A worker climbed down a … confined space previously filled with carbon dioxide gas to retrieve an item. However, he collapsed when trying to climb back up,” the Workplace Safety and Health Council said in a safety advisory.

“The collapsed worker was rescued and sent to the hospital where he passed away. The chamber was neither ventilated nor gas-tested before entry. There was no permit issued for entry to the confined space.”

Investigators made the following recommendations:

  • provide personal protective equipment
  • verify and deploy only competently qualified workers
  • conduct periodic gas-tests during confined space works
  • conduct a site walkabout to identify all confined spaces
  • establish and implement safe work procedures for confined-space entry
  • post a notice and/or warning sign at the entrance of each confined space
  • review work processes to ensure every worker safely enters confined spaces
  • restrict access to confined spaces by locking all manhole entrances until work begins.

Click here to read the full safety advisory.

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