Orlando, FL – A fatal combination of slip/fall and confined space hazards lead to the death of Harvest Power employee John Korody. Korody died after falling into a vat filled with oil and grease outside of Walt Disney World last month. The slip/fall hazard was compounded by overwhelming fumes surrounding the oil vat.
The accident happened at the Harvest Power facility that contracts with Disney World to recycle the resort’s food waste and convert it into renewable energy and fertilizers.
Two Harvest Power employees were emptying oil and grease byproduct from a semi-truck into a vat when Korody slipped on a grate and fell in. Korody’s co-worker tried to pull him to safety but fumes from the oil and grease byproduct overwhelmed both workers, and Korody slipped farther into the vat. Korody was pronounced dead at the scene, and the local Fire Department helped to recover his body.
OSHA estimates that about 90 deaths involving confined spaces occur every year in the US and unfortunately, two-thirds of those killed are workers attempting to rescue someone else from the confined space.
Many workplaces contain areas that are considered “confined spaces” because while they were not necessarily designed for people, they are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. A confined space also has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy. Such spaces include (but are not limited to) tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, vats, equipment housings, ductwork, and pipelines.
OSHA outlines national workplace safety standards for permit-required confined spaces and the serious hazards they post to American workers. In addition to the difficultly in accessing and exiting confined spaces, these sites are often inadequately ventilated and/or trap noxious air. Without proper training, signage, and hazard mitigation planning, confined space conditions can result in tragic fatalities.
Dublin, UK – One worker has died and another is seriously ill after a confined space accident approximately 20ft below a housing estate in Portmarnock County, a suburb of Dublin. The men were employees of the drainage and cleaning company DrainTech, and were overcome by fumes while working in a sewer. The sewer was located in a residential area of Portmarnock called Drumnigh Woods.
Authorities confirmed two men were taken from the sewer, one of whom was pronounced dead at Beaumont Hospital while the second was said to be in a serious condition. Three members of Dublin Fire Brigade were also treated following the rescue efforts – two as a precaution for noxious gases and one who suffered a minor injury in the operation.
Two inspectors from the HSA were sent to the scene and an investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the deaths by the Garda and the HSA. Their inquiries center on whether the men inhaled lethal fumes while working in underground pipes and sewerage systems. Fire crews reported the difficulty of the conditions that the men were working in, a confined space, below ground and at risk of dangerous gases.
The DrainTech company operates mostly in the Dublin region and has been in business for more than 20 years with staff qualified in confined space and deep manhole entry.