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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 170245914 - Seven Employees Burned, One Died, In Refinery Explosion

Accident: 170245914 -- Report ID: 1055310 -- Event Date: 01/19/1991
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
11145381701/19/19911799Pm Northwest Inc
At approximately 4:15 p.m. on January 19, 1991, Employees #1 through #7 were working at a refinery, pulling a blind out of a 24 in. transfer line between a crude oil heater and an atmospheric tower. The burners on the side of the crude heater opposite the transfer lines were on, but pinched back to the pilot setting. The atmospheric tower was left full of hydrocarbon product. Nitrogen was pumped into the transfer line through a bleeder on the tower side of the blind. All of this was done at the start of the project; pulling the blind was the last task. When the blind was opened, the nitrogen flowed out, followed by hydrocarbon vapors from the tower. The vapors were pulled through the heater and ignited by the pilot light. There was an explosion inside the heater that ignited the vapors outside, resulting in a second explosion. Employees #1 through #7 were hospitalized for burns; Employee #1 died as a result of his injuries that same night. Three of the employees worked for the refinery; the remaining four worked for a subcontractor.
Keywords: burn, vapor, flammable vapors, construction, nitrogen, explosion, chemical vapor, refinery
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 111453817 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
2 111453817 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
3 111453817 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
4 111453817 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
5 111453817 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
6 111453817 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
7 111453817 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported

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