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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200540326 - Two Employees Killed, Two Injured When Storage Tank Explodes

Accident: 200540326 -- Report ID: 0317500 -- Event Date: 12/04/1998
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30038614112/05/19982865Koppers Industries Inc.
On December 5, 1998, Employees #1 through #4 were in two aerial lifts approximately 20 ft above the ground and 20 ft apart. They were removing piping from a 1-million-gallon storage tank that was being demolished by a contractor. The tank had been emptied of any product and blanking of the lines had been completed. Employees #3 and #4 were using an electric saw to cold cut the 10 in. pipe, while Employees #1 and #2 were using a welding torch to cut the flange bolts. As they removed the last of the twelve flange bolts, tar product sprayed out from the pipe flange and was ignited by the cutting torch. Employee #1 escaped from the aerial lift, traveled 20 to 30 ft along the existing pipes, and then jumped to ground. He was transported to the hospital, where he died the following day of his injuries. Employee #2 jumped directly from the basket into the flaming tar on the ground below the lift. He suffered extensive burns and was pronounced dead at the scene. Employees #3 and #4, who had been working from the other aerial lift, suffered from minor burns and smoke inhalation. Employee #3 was hospitalized overnight; Employee #4 was treated and released.
Keywords: burn, acetylene torch, demolition, flammable liquid, work rules, fall, spill, accidental discharge, cutting and burning
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 300386141 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
2 300386141 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
3 300386141 Non Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
4 300386141 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported

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