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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 104730.015 - Employee Injured In A Fuel Tank Explosion

Accident: 104730.015 -- Report ID: 0950632 -- Event Date: 10/25/2017
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
1273290.01510/25/2017Kc Welding
At 10:19 a.m. on October 25, 2017, an employee was working for a firm that repaired and maintained commercial and industrial machinery and equipment. He worked in a repair shop in El Centro, CA, in which his employer repaired farm equipment and made various other welding repairs and fabrications. The employee and a coworker had been assigned to perform a welding job on a fuel tanker. The employee and his coworker were regular employees of the employer, working regular shifts from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The employee's immediate supervisor had assigned them to that particular job. The supervisor was at a different location within the shop when the accident occurred. The coworker was using a Victor Thermal Dynamics plasma welding machine to cut out a frame for a tool box to be fitted on the fuel tanker. The container or tanker had been emptied of the diesel fuel it had held prior to the start of the cutting job. The tool box frame was to be located right next to a ventilation pipe on the tanker. The employee was standing behind the coworker and in front of the vent pipe. He was observing his coworker. Sparks coming from the welding machine flew across the front of the vent pipe. Although the container had been emptied, it had not been properly purged of vapors and fumes. The sparks ignited the diesel fuel vapors, and an explosion ensued. The employee was thrown backward and off his feet. He sustained major blunt head trauma and lacerations. He was transported via REACH helicopter to Desert Regional Medical Center, where was hospitalized for four days. At 10:55 a.m. that same day, DOSH was notified by the El Centro Fire Department of the serious injury incident. Also that same day, a DOSH was assigned to investigate the incident. The DOSH investigator arrived at the job site at 11:30 a.m. that same day.
Keywords: purging, concussion, explosion, fuel oil, metal shop, laceration, head, flammable vapors, emergency response, welding, tank, tank cleaning, venting
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 1273290.015 29 M Hospitalized injury Cut/Laceration Welders and cutters

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