ABSTRACT

The tragic events that occurred inside that empty sewage tank (a confined space) highlight several important considerations related to the danger involved with confined space entry. First, confined spaces can be very unforgiving. Second, entering confined spaces without the proper equipment and training amplifies and exacerbates the inherent danger. These first two considerations are rather obvious, but the third is less obvious. Why did not one but four men die? That the rescuers risked and then lost their lives attempting to save their fellow worker is actually a common occurrence— one so common that experienced safety and health professionals and those who have experienced such tragic occurrences worry about it every time a confined space entry is made. Unfortunately, though, this is a concern not shared by many workers, especially untrained workers.