JICOSH was closed in 2008. For further information, please contact JISHA.
JICOSH Home > Case Studies > Case No.25
Case No.25

Buried by urea while unclogging a belt conveyer hopper

Click Here
[Circumstances of the Incident]

This accident occurred during  packaging operations to fill bags with urea.

At around 8:05 on the day of the accident, the victim and another worker entered a warehouse where bulk urea was stored. They found bulk urea  piled on the floor as the product had been transported to the warehouse all through the previous night by using a chute installed under the ceiling, creating a pile of granular urea with a height of some 10 meters and a slope of about 25 degrees. Granular urea covered the hopper of an underground belt conveyer used to transport urea to packaging machines. 

The victim climbed the slope to a height of two meters and shook a  pipe that has been used to measure the amount when urea was dumped into the hopper. At the same time, another worker started to operate a tractor shovel to collect urea from the bottom of the  heap of the pile. After scooping up some six or seven loads,  a large amount of urea suddenly began to slide the slope down to the direction of the victim and buried him.

With the help of other workers, the second worker rescued the victim from the pile of urea only to find him already dead.


The following can be considered as the causes of this accident.

1 The belt conveyer hopper was filled with granular urea because urea had been transported into the warehouse the previous  night while the underground belt conveyer was not operating. Trying to unclog the filled hopper by hand was clearly an improper procedure, as such work must be carrying out with tractor shovels or similar machines.

2. The second  worker in the warehouse should have instructed the victim to get off the urea pile when he noticed that the victim was on the slope and the underground belt conveyer had started to work. However, the second worker failed to do so.

[Type of business] Non-organic/organic chemical product manufacturing
[Type of accident] Collapse
[Number of victims] One fatality