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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200640266 - Two Employees Burned In Explosion And Fire

Accident: 200640266 -- Report ID: 0627700 -- Event Date: 03/26/1997
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30047654603/27/19972999Chief Supply Corp.
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30047621503/27/19974953Chief Supply Corp.
Employees #1 and #2, both production workers, were part of a team that was blending flammable organic solvent-based waste into waste kiln fuel. Production was up because a shipment needed to be transported soon, and Employees #1 and #2 were dumping drums of waste into blending dispersers. After emptying a previous batch out of the small disperser, its mixer wheel stopped running, so a lab worker, following a recently reinstated practice, poured approximately one gallon each of dry chlorates and perchlorates into the disperser's interior. The lab worker then went back to the laboratory and returned with a gallon of dry nitrites, which he also poured into the container. Employees #1 and #2 had, by this time, both moved on to new projects. Employee #2 was operating a forklift with an attached drum dumping fixture; Employee #1 was standing on the fixture, starting to dump another drum. The lab worker conversed briefly with Employee #2 and was starting to walk away when waste erupted from the top of the dispenser, followed by a large fireball. Both Employees #1 and #2 were sprayed by the burning waste; Employee #1's Tyvek suit caught fire, as did Employee #2's shirt collar. Some coworkers tried to help them, while others began fighting the flames before all the workers were evacuated. Employee #1 died of burns sustained in the accident; Employee #2 suffered burns to his neck but was not hospitalized. The fire ultimately destroyed the entire upper level of the plant. Its probable cause was the addition of the three different oxidizers to the flammable organic solvent-based waste. The three oxidizers reacted among themselves, and with the waste liquid, producing intense heat that ignited the waste's flammable vapors.
Keywords: flammable vapors, work rules, waste proc fac, explosion, burn, heat, mixer, chemical reaction, mech malfunction, chemical
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 300476546 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
2 300476215 Non Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported

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