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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 170062301 - Two Employees Die After Fuel Oil Storage Tank Explosion

Accident: 170062301 -- Report ID: 0453710 -- Event Date: 09/09/1994
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
11111235509/12/19943011Ogden Plant Maintenance Company Of North Carolina
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
11111234809/12/19947381Budd Services, Inc.
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
11111232209/09/19941731A.B. Electric Services, Inc.
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
11111233009/09/19943011Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.

At approximately 10:00 a.m. on September 9, 1994, Employees #1 and #2, contract employees, were at a Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., plant in Wilson, NC, welding on top of a 100,000 gallon steel storage tank that contained approximately 35,000 to 40,000 gallons of #6 fuel oil. They were arc welding a 2 in. diameter, black iron pipe coupling onto the top of the tank in a vertical position. A welding permit card had been filled out and signed by the contractor's welder and the plant guard who was the on-site supervisor, but another guard had declined to issue the permit on his own. The lead mechanic for the power house operation for which the work was being done was questioned about the burning characteristics of the fuel oil, but he assured all parties that the oil was difficult to ignite. The welder also expressed no concern for proceeding with the work as planned. No testing of air either inside or outside the tank was done, although a list of precautions on the back of the welding permit card included such a requirement. The contractor's field supervisor was nearby at the bottom of tank and said the explosion occurred approximately five minutes after welding started. He was knocked to the concrete surface inside the containment dike. Employees #1 and #2, who were on top of the storage tank, were extensively burned and blown from the tank, falling 24 ft to the concrete inside the dike. Both employees later died of their injuries.

Keywords: explosion, fuel oil, burn, flammable liquid, fire, fall, work rules, storage tank, construction, arc welding

Employee Details
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 111112355 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Welders and cutters
2 111112348 Occupation Not Listed
3 111112322 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Millwrights
4 111112330 Occupation Not Listed

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