Occupational Confined Space-Related Fatalities: Surveillance and Prevention

  • Conroy, Carol S.;
  • Manwaring, Jan C.


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) investigates selected workplace fatalities through the Fatal Accident Circumstances and Epidemiology (FACE) project. This surveillance project is designed to collect descriptive data on selected fatalities using an epidemiologic approach, to identify potential risk factors for work-related death, to develop recommended intervention strategies, to disseminate findings that increase employer and employee hazard awareness and to r duce the risk of fatal injury in the workplace. From December 1983 through December 1989, 55 confined-space events, resulting in 88 deaths, were investigated through the FACE project. In these events only three of the workers who died had received any training in confined space safety. Additionally, only 27% of the employers had any type of written confined space entry procedures. Where written procedures did exist they were either not implemented, inadequate, or both. Because many employers and workers were not aware of the hazards associated with confined spaces, basic NIOSH recommendations published in 1979 that would have prevented the fatalities were not followed. These data underscore the importance of developing and implementing comprehensive confined-space entry procedures and educating workers and supervisors on following safe work procedures to reduce the number of occupational confined space-related fatalities.


JOURNAL: J Saf Res. 1990; 21(4): 157- 164.

Note: Journal of Safety Research.

NLOM ID#: No ID #.

This document was extracted from the CDC-NIOSH Epidemiology of Farm Related Injuries: Bibliography With Abstracts, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

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