Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government.

September 15, 2021 Fatality - Fatality Alert

Accident Report: Fatality Reference

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.  

Accident scene

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.

Additional Information

This is the 26th fatality reported in 2021, and the first classified as “Confined Space.”