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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 14369904 - Two Employees Injured In Tank Explosion

Accident: 14369904 -- Report ID: 0522300 -- Event Date: 09/07/1995
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
12193796509/14/19953479Seibert Powder Coatings, Inc.
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
12193788209/07/19951795Chief Wrecking Co.

Employees #1 and #2 and a coworker had been assigned to cut up six 5 ft by 5 ft by 8 ft steel tanks in a small upper level storage room using an oxygen/propane cutting torch. The three workers had been informed that the tanks were "okay to burn." Employee #1 had just arrived where the cutting was taking place, having just tried to get more fire extinguishing equipment since the available portable extinguisher had run out from other incipient fires that day. The third worker soon left the area as Employees #1 and #2 continued cutting the first tank. Within the next few minutes Employee #2 observed a small fire under the back tank, but it could not be put out since no other fire extinguishing equipment was available. Soon after observing this fire, Employees #1 and #2 heard a whoosh and then an explosion. Employee #1 was blown approximately 12 to 15 ft to the lower level. Employee #2 sustained burns to both arms from his wrists to shoulders. Both were hospitalized for treatment. Employee #2 was released four days later, but Employee #1 was held in intensive care for over six weeks. The work site had been a paint and finish manufacturer at one time, but it had been out of production for nearly 20 years and was being gutted and remodeled for a new manufacturer at the time of the accident. The tanks apparently had not been used in over 20 years, but a residue containing hazardous material was still present. The tanks had not been properly cleaned, inerted, ventilated, or tested before being cut.

Keywords: flammable vapors, work rules, explosion, tank, burn, fire, construction, propane torch, arm, cutting and burning

Employee Details
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 121937965 Occupation Not Listed
2 121937882 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
3 121937882 Hospitalized injury Fracture Occupation not reported

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