Two Workers Die after entering Hypoxic Sewer in Chiayi County

Two men in Chiayi County died yesterday after entering a sewer with a low oxygen concentration.

The two workers, 32 and 55 years-old, entered the four meter deep sewer at around 5:30pm in order to check the sewage flow. A female worker remained on the surface. At around 5:45pm, the Chiayi County Fire Bureau received an emergency call from the coworker, who said that the men had fainted.

Firefighters rushed to the scene and entered the sewer wearing breathing apparatus. A crane was employed to hoist the men out of the narrow confines of the sewer. Both men had lost vital signs by the time of the rescue.

The workers were rushed to Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, but efforts to restore breathing and heartbeat failed and they were later declared dead.

Inspectors from the Ministry of Labor reported that tests had shown that the atmosphere in the sewer was hypoxic, with an oxygen level of just 17.2%. Poisonous gases were not detected. Oxygen deficiency was determined to be the main cause of death, an a penalty will be imposed according to the law.

According to a labor safety official, workers should first measure the oxygen level using detection equipment before entering a sewer.

The Chiayi County Water Resources Department Sewage Engineering Division said that the men worked for a downstream contractor who’s task was to measure the depth and flow of existing sewage infrastructure ahead of an expansion program.

Gas detector showing low oxygen level

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