A horrific mishap has claimed the lives of 2 construction workers on a site in Georgetown Idaho recently. The terrible accident which took place on Thursday can only be described as a tragedy as the 2 men suffered one unfortunate event after another leading to their deaths.

First the workers were exposed to a combination of toxic fumes which probably caused the one worker to pass out, subsequently he was drown by the water inside the manhole in which they were working. One of the workers went in to assist the other worker who had passed out but also died in a similar manner. The following excerpt from a post on an Idaho news site KTVB.com explains further:

Jody Taylor says his son, 19-year-old Bo Taylor, and a co-worker, 46-year-old Trent Sorensen both died. Jody says it was a toxic combination of fumes inside a manhole that caused his son to pass out, then drown in the water below.

“The sealant we figure is what put off the fumes with the reaction of PVC liner, the fumes reacted with each other,” said Taylor.

Source: http://www.ktvb.com/

It is believed that when the senior worker realised what was going on and that his co-worker was in trouble that he entered the manhole to assist, however being asthmatic he also had difficulty breathing in the confined space of the manhole with the toxic fumes and this also resulted in his death. The post goes on to explain:

Jody says he believes Trent realized something was wrong, and went into the manhole as well to help get him out. He says Trent suffered from asthma and believes that had to do with his death.

“With the asthma Trent couldn’t breath trying to get Bo above the water, Trent just wasn’t strong enough to do it,” said Taylor. Both men passed away at a local hospital later that day.

“I stood beside my boy for 4 hours while they tried to get a pulse, tried to get anything,” said Taylor.

Source: http://www.ktvb.com/

The younger victim was the son of the company’s owner and the other deceased worker was a close friend of the family’s,which makes the incident even more tragic. Sorenson had been employed by Mr Taylor for decades and his son Trent had been working in the company for 2 years.

Mr Taylor described the anguish he felt at the passing of the 2 men,

“It was a clean new manhole, fresh water in it, it was a fluke, 100 % crazy accident,” said Taylor. Now, he’s helping to plan both funerals and he’s looking back on his son’s short life. “He was always happy no matter what he had to do or what he was going through he was always happy,” said Taylor.

As for the safety equipment, Taylor says they had everything they needed, but could not have predicted the combination of materials would become so toxic.

Source: http://www.ktvb.com/

Mr Taylor described the incident as a “fluke” but in my opinion it demonstrates the harsh and very often unpredictable nature of construction. Sadly in this case the combination of fumes becoming so toxic was not anticipated beforehand which led to these 2 men’s deaths. This shows just how vital it is for employers to provide workers with a safe system of work and to plan work beforehand to avoid incidents of this nature. It also highlights the importance of Material Safety Data Sheets and the need for all workers to be properly trained and supervised on all these aspects of construction work.


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