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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 170667141 - Employee Injured When Struck By Flying Pipe Plug In Manhole

Accident: 170667141 -- Report ID: 0111500 -- Event Date: 07/01/2001
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
12328552006/21/20011541O & G Industries, Inc.
On the afternoon of July 1, 2001, Employee #1, of O & G Industries, Inc., was engaged in the pressure-testing of a new 40 ft section of 20 in. diameter pipe that had been installed and completed at approximately 3:00 p.m. that day. The Town of Wallingford, CT, required a water pressure test instead of an air test. The pipe plug was already installed in the manhole when Employee #1 entered the manhole to construct and install the bracing for the plug. He checked the pressure of the pipe plug and confirmed it as still being 20 psi. While Employee #1 was in the manhole, the foreman started filling the new pipe with water from a hydrant approximately 50 ft east of the manhole. One end of the 3 in. diameter hose was connected to the hydrant and the opposite end was connected to a backflow/pressure reducing valve. Connected to the back flow/pressure reducing valve was a 1-1/2 in. diameter pipe that ran to the valve installed on the pipe. The valve on the pipe was 10 ft 8 in. from the manhole. The valve on the pipe was opened enough to allow water to start flowing. While the water was running, Employee #1 was in the manhole working on bracing the pipe plug. After approximately 30 minutes, the water entering the pipe and the dissipation of the air in the pipe caused a build-up of pressure behind the pipe plug. Since the pipe plug was not yet braced, the pressure built to the point that it blew the plug out of the 20 in. diameter pipe, striking Employee #1 in the left forearm and chest. He was thrown back against the 36 in. diameter pipe. A coworker was standing at the top of the manhole, but he had looked away briefly and did not see the plug blow out. When he turned back around, he saw Employee #1 lying against the 36 in. diameter pipe. He sustained a fractured left ulna and contusions to the left upper quadrant of his torso. The coworker, seeing Employee #1 bleeding, entered the manhole and administered first aid. A nearby electrician, who was also an EMT, entered the manhole and splinted Employee #1's left forearm. In the meantime, 911 was called. The Fire Department responded, extricated Employee #1 from the manhole, and transported him to the Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was treated for two days.
Keywords: chest, fracture, work rules, construction, high pressure, struck by, water pipe, arm, manhole, pressure release
End Use Proj Type Proj Cost Stories NonBldgHt Fatality
Powerplant New project or new addition $5,000,000 to $20,000,000 1 30
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation Construction
1 123285520 Hospitalized injury Fracture Construction laborers FallDist:
FallHt:
Cause: Trenching, installing pipe
FatCause: Struck by falling object/projectile

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