The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a South Florida utility company and related contracting company after the agency’s investigation into the deaths of three workers who succumbed to toxic gases in a manhole on Jan. 16, 2017.
A 34-year-old pipe layer entered the manhole – a confined space – and quickly became unresponsive. A 49-year-old laborer entered the hole and attempted to rescue the first employee. After the second employee also became unresponsive, a 24-year-old equipment operator followed to help his fallen coworkers. All three men died. Post-incident atmospheric testing in the manhole revealed lethal levels of hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide. Two other employees and a volunteer firefighter were also exposed to the toxic gases in the manhole during rescue attempts but survived