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Worker at LAX pulled unconscious from FedEx aircraft fuel tank

A man had to be rescued early Wednesday after falling unconscious while working on a FedEx fuel tank at LAX. The Los Angeles Fire Department was called out to the FedEx Express Hub, 5927 W. Imperial Highway, at about 12:40 a.m. to help a 30-year-old man who had been pulled unconscious from inside an aircraft fuel tank while he was performing maintenance. Five other people were also evaluated by firefighters, but were not taken to the hospital. The man was taken to a hospital in unknown… ( More...

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James Werner 6
Yeah, Rob. That is a classic Confined Space that OSHA regulates very specifically. Can't believe a commercial aircraft maintenance facility didn't have the observer, portable quad gas monitor, full body harness or rescue retrieval equipment. Or, if they did, why didn't they take action at the first sign of distress or out-of-range monitor readings?
SorenTwin 4
No updates to the confined space policies, I see. Hasn't changed since I worked there in 2009 on a contract job.
Pete Schecter 4
During my time as a DOD ARFF provider we had a fuel cell repair activity at one of the bases, and worked with MX to train their people in using a tether and harness, as well as performing air monitoring and continuous positive pressure ventilation of the tank being entered. We had the extraction down to a several minute time frame in the event of emergency, and after a quick gross decon (flammable vapors from fuel residue) the patient was packaged and handed off to EMS.

Even if purged of all fuel reside and vapors the inerting gas present creates an oxygen deficient atmosphere.

Fuel cells are inherently dangerous and difficult to work in and present a number of obstacles to a straight line pathway of extraction due to the interior structural elements needed to support the wing and fuel load.

During multiple training exercises we got this process down to a less than ten minute operation.

Cost cutting is the new mantra in aviation, and safety only matters when someone is watching unfortunately. We claim it as our number one value, but only behind profitability...

Someone made several bad decisions for this to occur, fortunately it was not a body recovery which is the usual case in confined space events to go poorly..
Tim Hunter 6
"It's not clear what the man was doing"?? Excuse me? Let's see: The people reporting this can't contact the folks responsible for maintenance at the Fedex location at LAX? And ask why someone would have gone down into an airplane's FUEL TANK?? They don't make 'em like they used...

Dennis Bishop 4
Maybe he just went there for a quick smoking break. Agreed, journalism ain't what it used to be.
Who, what, when, where, WHY.
Franky16 2
Agree, have said this before about reporting on this site, very ordinary...
Ron Lorenz 5
OHSA will make money on that one!
James Gallegos 1
I've worked in several confined space assignments, albeit not fuel tanks per se, but in a confined space nonetheless. We always had a person outside as a lookout, and the people inside wore body harnesses and had a "reverse" motion detector clipped on their coveralls. The reverse motion detector was designed to sound an alarm if the wearer stopped moving for a prolonged period and depending on the size of the tank we were in, could be set to a very short time or longer if deemed a safer environment, such as a water tank instead of a tank that held more dangerous materials. Of course, there was extensive training for the people working, the lookouts and the supervision before we could even think of venturing into any CS!


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