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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200640639 - Employee Killed When Gas Vapors Explode And Ignite

Accident: 200640639 -- Report ID: 0627700 -- Event Date: 12/10/1997
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30187285912/11/19971389Hamm & Phillips Service Company
At approximately 5:00 p.m. on December 10, 1997, Employee #1 and coworkers were removing condensation from a natural gas line prior to installing pig traps on it. Two pits had been dug to expose the line and a section of pipe had been removed from the gas line in the bottom of one pit. A tanker truck had been positioned on the west side of the pits to vacuum out the fluid as it entered the pits. A pig (a bullet shaped object used to push condensation out of a gas line) was launched through the gas line from the north end using natural gas pressure to push it along the line. After several minutes, fluid began to flow out of the pipe and into the pit at the south end of the line. There were three large surges of fluid from the pipe, which filled the pit faster than the tanker truck could vacuum it out. The fluid overflowed the pit and ran underneath the cab and engine of the truck. The running truck engine ignited the rising vapors, which exploded and burned. Employee #1, who was either at the rear end of the truck or on the right front side of it, became caught in the explosion and fire. He died of burns sustained in the accident.
Keywords: burn, tank truck, gas well, flammable vapors, work rules, fire, natural gas, gas, explosion, pipeline
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 301872859 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported

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