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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200020931 - Two Employees Burned When Floor Sealant Ignites

Accident: 200020931 -- Report ID: 0214200 -- Event Date: 05/27/1998
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30212720406/03/19981752Sausa & Valente Inc.
Employees #1 and #2 were refinishing the floors of an apartment in a two-story frame building in Parsippany, NJ. Employee # 1 was trimming the edge of the living room floor while Employee #2 was applying nitrocellulose lacquer sealant in the same room. A fire started around the kitchen and spread along the surface of the floors throughout the apartment. The living room was the last floor to be finished and Employee #1 was surrounded by the sealant when it ignited. His clothes caught on fire, and he quickly ran through the flames to the stairway leading down and went outside. Employee #2 had been applying sealant to the main area of the living room floor when the fire started. When the floor area around him ignited and he saw what happened to Employee #1, he jumped over the hand rail onto the stairs and rolled down to the first floor. He then went outside and helped Employee #1 extinguish his burning clothes. Employees #1 and #2 were transported to the hospital, where they were treated for second- and third-degree burns. Subsequent investigation by an arson team concluded that the source of ignition was the refrigerator's compressor, which created a spark when it turned on , igniting the sealant vapors. This theory supported the workers' description of where and how the fire started and traveled throughout the apartment. They had applied the nitrocellulose solution to the floor without ventilating the apartment or disconnecting all sources of ignition.
Keywords: burn, ventilation, flammable liquid, flammable vapors, work rules, fire, construction, paint solvent, spark, chemical vapor
End Use Proj Type Proj Cost Stories NonBldgHt Fatality
Multi-family dwelling Maintenance or repair Under $50,000 2
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation Construction
1 302127204 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported FallDist:
FallHt:
Cause: Interior painting and decorating
FatCause: Fire/explosion
2 302127204 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported FallDist:
FallHt:
Cause: Interior painting and decorating
FatCause: Fire/explosion

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