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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200033033 - Employees Chemically Burned By Leaking Dimethyl Sulfate Pipe

Accident: 200033033 -- Report ID: 0521700 -- Event Date: 06/20/2007
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
31017751406/21/20072869Stepan Company
At 11:30 a.m. on June 20, 2007, Employees #1, #2, #3, and #4, who worked for Brand Scaffolding Company, and Employees #5, and #6, who worked for Atlantic Plant Services Company, and Employees #7 and #8, who worked for Stepan Company, a chemical manufacturer, were hospitalized after being exposed to dimethyl sulfate (DMS) in the ethoxylation area where it was used in reactors 4 and 5. Employee #7 was an operator who moved bags containing chemicals into the area in order to add it to reactor 4. Employee #8 was a mechanic that worked unplugging an auger at reactor 4. Employees #7 and #8 started working at 7 a.m. at reactor 4. Employees #1, #2, #3, and #4 dismantled a scaffold at a platform at the reactors. Employees #5 and #6 removed and installed new insulation on piping at a platform at the reactors. The host employer did not become aware that employees were exposed to DMS until about 2 p.m., when workers were discovered having chemical burns. Employees worked on a raised platform around the two reactors. In order to enter and leave the area, they walked along a path between two the reactors that was only 30 inches wide, and a pipe that contained DMS which ran overhead between the reactors. The piping system normally operated at 5 psi, but thermal expansion of DMS caused pressures over 300 psi and caused a valve on the overhead pipe to leak this extremely hazardous compound down onto employees that worked beneath the pipe.
Keywords: chemical reaction, chemical burn, pipe, chemical
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 310177514 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Machinery maintenance occupations
2 310177514 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Machinery maintenance occupations
3 310177514 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Machinery maintenance occupations
4 310177514 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Machinery maintenance occupations
5 310177514 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Machinery maintenance occupations
6 310177514 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Machinery maintenance occupations
7 310177514 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Machinery maintenance occupations
8 310177514 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Machinery maintenance occupations

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