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1 Killed, 2 Hurt in Tanker Cleaning

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

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One worker perished and two were injured over the weekend when they were apparently overcome by vapors while cleaning the inside of a tanker.

The accident occurred Saturday (June 14) at a quarry owned by concrete and asphalt manufacturer Jobe Materials L.P. of El Paso, TX.

Jobe Materials did not respond Tuesday to a request for more information.

Workers Trapped

The incident occurred about 7:30 a.m. Saturday (June 14), when emergency responders were notified that three workers at the quarry were trapped inside a confined space. About 13 fire units and 34 firefighters responded.

Jobe Materials
Jobe Materials LP

Jobe Materials, L. P. supplies ready-mixed concrete, construction aggregates and asphalt.

Upon arrival, firefighters saw workers on top of a tanker trying to rescue two victims inside, the El Paso Fire Department reported later that day. The victims had been cleaning the inside of the tanker when they fell ill, officials said.

A third worker had been able to pull himself out of the tanker before firefighters arrived. He was taken to an area hospital.

Firefighters then rescued the two victims trapped inside. Both were taken to area hospitals, where one died later that day.

The deceased victim was 58. None of the identities was released. It could not be immediately confimed whether the workers were employees of Jobe Materials.

El Paso FD had promised media outlets an update but said Tuesday (June 17) that it could release no additional details about the incident.

'Hovering Over These Communities'

One area resident said he was not surprised by the accident, because the air often appeared contaminated.

Jobe quarry
KTSM-TV screen grab

Three men were initially trapped in a tanker at the quarry. One managed to free himself.

"As I'm coming back from the freeway, you can see it from miles away," said Brendan Ontiveros of Canutillo, where the quarry is located, told KFOX-TV. "It's hovering over these communities right here."

The quarry opened last year after the El Paso City Council went against a staff recommendation and rezoned 115 acres owned by Stanley Jobe, a bilionaire once called "the most powerful person in town."

The tract adjoins Franklin Mountains State Park. The Franklins are the largest sustained mountain range in Texas, and the state maintains strict rules about park usage.

The city planning department recommended denying the request due to environmental concerns, according to the El Paso Times. In granting the rezoning to Jobe, the city "scrapped some of its most stringent, environmentally friendly and award-winning land development policies," the news outlet said.

Texas Parks & Wildlife

The quarry opened last year adjacent to Franklin Mountains State Park.

Jobe donated a 45-acre arroyo to the city in exchange for the rezoning.

The newspaper also noted that the state General Land Office had recently granted Jobe another quarry in Northeast El Paso, overruling the city's zoning policies. Jobe was a top campaign contributor to the state official who gave the order, the El Paso Times reported last year.

Stanley Jobe
archive.newspapertree.com

El Paso scrapped strict land development policies to rezone a 115-acre tract so that Stanley Jobe could open his quarry.

Jobe employee Carlos Chacon wrote on KFOX's Facebook page that Jobe Materials "has a great safety department." He and other commenters said the deceased had been trying to rescue the other employees.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating Saturday's accident. A check of OSHA records Tuesday showed no record of inspection or violation for Jobe Materials.

Confined Space Safety

Confined-space safety is regulated by OSHA. OSHA's Confined Spaces Advisor offers an online "advisor" tool that details terms, answers common questions, and reviews regulatory text. The agency offers full resources on confined-space safety in its Safety and Health Topics section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Tagged categories: Asphalt; Cement; Confined space; Fatalities

Comment from Burt Olhiser, (6/18/2014, 4:18 PM)

the article doesn’t state what cleaning chemical was being used I suspect it might have been methylene chloride but who knows at this point. If it was the men per OSHA regulation should have been in supplied air, regardless what a stupid tragedy I only hope now that the responsible party's ass gets nailed to the wall.


Comment from Cristiano Godoy, (6/19/2014, 12:05 AM)

Unfortunately workers don’t follow the principals of confined space. Workers were trained or certified as a confined space. It’s very sad we still lost workers in this industrial field.


Comment from Cristiano Godoy, (6/19/2014, 12:28 AM)

Unfortunately workers don’t follow the principals of confined space. Workers were trained or certified as a confined space? It’s very sad we’re still lost workers in this industrial field.


Comment from M. Halliwell, (6/19/2014, 10:54 AM)

My condolences to the family of the deceased and hopes for a speedy recovery for the other workers. It is a sad state of affairs, but there are still a good number of companies out there (big ones too) who either don't know, don't care or don't want the expense to do confined space work correctly. I have had experience, not that long ago even, where as a consultant I've had to come to site and set up a confined space protocol and permit whilst the Prime was dumbfounded that we would do such a thing.


Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (6/20/2014, 8:31 AM)

Has Jobe released their confined space protocols for this site, and the training records for these men? Is there a history of protocols being ignored without correction by management?


Comment from William Gusnard, (6/20/2014, 9:12 AM)

WE recently had aconfined problem where the worker did not wear his gear because it was supposed to be a quick in and out and the air ventilation had aslo been turned creating still air. The employee was a foreman and he knew better because he was a trainer as well. As they say in the auto industry - SPPED KILLS.


Comment from Car F., (6/20/2014, 7:13 PM)

Any half-decent safety protocol for confined space entry must include effective SUPERVISION, emergency and rescue procedures. Additionally, a risk assessment will establish if respiratory protection is needed and what kind, according to the level of contaminants and hazards created and the information provided by the Material Safety Data Sheet. Somewhere in there one of more of these steps were nonexistent, ignored or not enforced.


Comment from Chuck Pease, (6/22/2014, 1:17 PM)

“ Workers were trained or certified as a confined space?” Cristiano, I dont understand your statement. Are you asking a question or are you saying that they were trained and certified for confined space work.... It wouldnt surprise me if the men had no training at all. You cant follow what you dont know of have been trained to do. I encounter people all the time that arent aware of confined space permit required work. And this includes citys counties and other various municipalities. To include GC's. Far more people expire while effecting a confined space rescue. The only way to avoid these types of incidents is employer and empoyee training. Then creating a confined space plan and enforce and adhere to the plan. The artical is just too vague to come to any conclusions as to what happened. Its clear that someone somewhere dropped the ball......


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