Confined space entry: worker died inside pump room

What happened?

The Singapore Tripartite Alliance for Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) have published an alert notification relating to the death of a worker inside a pump room.  The incident occurred when six workers were dismantling valves in the pump room of a marine vessel.  The workers smelt fumes.  All the workers managed to evacuate from the pump room except for one who had lost consciousness.  He was brought out from the pump room later and pronounced dead at the scene by attending paramedics.

Contractors performing similar work activities are advised by WSH to:

  • Take the necessary precautions to protect their employees when working inside an enclosed environment (the pump room in this case);
  • Put in place adequate atmospheric ventilation to maintain oxygen levels and keep airborne concentrations of toxic vapours below their respective permissible exposure limit;
  • Where the provision of adequate ventilation is not possible, suitable respirators or other breathing apparatus must be used so that the work can be carried out safely;
  • Pipelines containing hazardous material should also be suitably isolated, depressurised and purged prior to being dismantled;
  • Should there be a possibility of the pipeline containing residual hazardous materials, personal protective equipment including safety helmets, face shields, safety boots and chemical-resistant clothing, aprons and gloves must be worn.

The Singapore authorities have begun investigations.  The alert can be found here.