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