Mine Fatality: Dangerous Gases in Confined Spaces

Mine Safety and Health Administration
MINE FATALITY – On September 15, 2021, a 33-year-old contract welder was fatally injured when he crawled 40 feet into a 30-inch-diameter stainless-steel pipe.  The victim was welding a joint from the outside of the pipe, and then entered the pipe to troubleshoot issues related to argon gas leakage.  Coworkers found him unresponsive.  
Best Practices:
Remove dangerous working materials and gasses by means of a high volume of fresh airflow before entering confined spaces.
Assess risks and hazards before beginning work activities to determine what personal protective equipment (PPE) and atmospheric testing is needed prior to entry and during work execution.
Test atmospheres from a safe location with a calibrated gas monitor capable of detecting harmful and noxious gasses before entering and continuously while working in confined spaces.
Designate a miner to maintain contact with the miner entering a confined space in the form of visual or voice contact, or signal lines.
Ensure miners use the appropriate PPE, including dry, flame-retardant clothing and respiratory protection equipment.
Train miners to identify confined spaces and understand their associated hazards.

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Miners and mine operators can find safety and health information on MSHA.gov.

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