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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200380715 - Three Employees Injured When Battery Explodes

Accident: 200380715 -- Report ID: 0336000 -- Event Date: 05/03/2007
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30933784805/04/20073341International Metals Reclamation Company, Inc.
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30933838205/18/20077349Industrial Air Control, Inc.
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30933784805/04/20073341International Metals Reclamation Company, Inc.
On May 3, 2007, Employee #1 was in the battery sorting area, attempting to remove the cells from a lithium battery. The battery consisted of at least 25 individual cells that were encased in a hard metal case. The ends of the case were sealed with a hard cap. The battery was a cylinder approximately 5 feet long by 1 inch in diameter and resembled a post for a chain link fence. Employee #1 was having difficulty opening the battery's case and end caps to access the cells, so he began striking it on a dumpster (hopper) in the area. Employee #3, (a contractor who was onsite on a regular basis and gained a working relationship with personnel in the battery sorting area) was dragging hose through the area and began talking with employees. He noticed Employee #1 struggling with the battery and striking it on the dumpster. Employee #3 and Employee #1 then discussed ways in which to remove the cells from the lithium battery. Employee #3 placed one end of the battery under the fork of the powered industrial truck that was parked in the area (between the fork and the building's floor) while holding the other end of the battery in his hands. Employee #1 stood directly across from, and near, Employee #3. Using the powered industrial truck's fork as a prying surface, Employee #3 lifted up on the lithium battery and it exploded. Shrapnel was blasted throughout the battery sorting area, up to approximately 40 feet from the explosion's point of origin. Employee #3 was not injured by the explosion. Employee #2 was standing in the general vicinity and received a laceration under her eye from the shrapnel. She received minor first aid at the site and was able to resume work duties. Employee #4, who was standing in the general area, complained of hearing problems after the explosion. His hearing problems were consistent with blast overpressure. His hearing returned to normal within an hour after the explosion and he was able to resume normal work activities. Employee #1 took the full impact of the shrapnel, which punctured his legs. He was transported to a hospital via emergency medical helicopter where he was hospitalized, treated, and then released a few days after the incident.
Keywords: battery, flammable vapors, explosion, industrial truck, leg, dismantling, ear, hearing loss, struck by, face
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 309337848 Hospitalized injury Puncture Graders and sorters, except agricultural
2 309337848 Non Hospitalized injury Cut/Laceration Graders and sorters, except agricultural
3 309338382 Occupation not reported
4 309337848 Non Hospitalized injury Hearing Loss Graders and sorters, except agricultural

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