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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 170121362 - Employees Injured In Reactor Vessel Explosion

Accident: 170121362 -- Report ID: 0453710 -- Event Date: 06/17/1992
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
1855318006/18/19922869Nova Chem Corporation
On June 17, 1992, employees were removing Accelerator P from a 1,500 gallon stainless steel reactor vessel. Accelerator P is used to cure natural latex rubber, and is formed when carbon disulfide is added to piperidine to form a precipitate. Occasionally, additional carbon disulfide is added to ensure that the remaining piperidine has completely reacted. The slurry is blown out of the vessel, collected on a filter, and dried in an oven. Employee #1 was washing off the product stuck to the vessel's walls with a water hose. Employee #2 was collecting the residue in a bucket. Employee #1 was standing on a platform approximately 7 1/2 feet above the floor when an explosion occurred. The blast propelled him off the platform, approximately 5 feet from the reactor. He sustained 2nd-degree burns on 30 to 35 percent of his upper torso, and 3rd-degree burns on his arm and hand. Employee #1 also sustained a fractured vertebra from the fall. Employee #2 sustained only minor injuries, and was treated and released to work the same day. The use of deionized water might have prevented the explosion. The blast was believed to have been fueled by excess carbon disulfide in the tank. The source of ignition remains unclear, but was suspected to have been caused by the tap water carrying an electrostatic charge inside the vessel, which ignited when it contacted the steel walls of the tank.
Keywords: burn, fracture, static electricity, reactor, cleaning, explosion, tank, vertebra, carbon disulfide
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 18553180 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
2 18553180 Non Hospitalized injury Other Occupation not reported

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