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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200782738 - Employee Killed In Liquid Waste Explosion And Fire

Accident: 200782738 -- Report ID: 0626300 -- Event Date: 05/11/2003
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30546591605/12/20032869Eastman Chemical Company, Texas Operations

At approximately 11:00 a.m. on May 11, 2003, Employee #1 was transferring a waste liquid from a 5 ft portable tank into an active incinerator. The waste liquid was a mixture of mineral oil and triethyl aluminum (TEAL). TEAL is pyrophoric and reacts spontaneously with air or moisture resulting in ignition. The liquid waste was moved by nitrogen pressure on the tank, through a flexible steel hose, into a rigid piping system for delivery into the incinerator. The delivery hose and piping had been pre-purged with nitrogen. The explosion and fire destroyed the flexible steel hose, splitting it both lengthwise and into approximately 6-in crosswise segments. Employee #1 was in close proximity to the ruptured hose and was engulfed in flames sustaining fatal burns. Employee #1's body was not retrievable until after the fire was extinguished. The portable tank was charred on the side where the steel hose was located, not undamaged on its opposite side. The rigid piping had char marks on the outer surfaces, but was not bent or deformed. The incinerator was unaffected by the explosion and fire which had occurred only 20 to 30 ft away. A coworker reported having had some operational difficulties while he was working on the waste transfer with Employee #1 that morning. The rigid piping system had clogged and was cleared by nitrogen pressure. The piping system had also developed hot spots, something that never occurred before.

Keywords: burn, flammable liquid, fire, hose, nitrogen, waste proc fac, explosion, pipe

Employee Details
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 305465916 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Furnace, kiln and oven operators

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