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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200881274 - Employee Is Burned In Explosion

Accident: 200881274 -- Report ID: 0215800 -- Event Date: 02/07/2007
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
31074660702/07/20075984Oneida Lake Energy Products A Div Of Oneida Lake
At 9:00 a.m. on February 7, 2007, an explosion occurred at a propane tank refurbishing and filling establishment. The establishment processes approximately 100,000 tanks a year. On the day of the accident, the region had received over 4 feet of new snow, the temperature was around 12 degrees Fahrenheit, and there was a Relative Humidity of 37 percent. The area used for refilling is a 19 ft wide and 40 ft long metal framed building with light gauge metal siding, and a concrete floor. The building was not heated, and the electrical equipment wiring were all explosion proof. Employee #1 was working alone and was in the process of performing his normal job, refilling a 20 lb propane cylinder. There was an overhead garage door that was open at a height of 3 ft. A side window was opened 3 in. The rear window was not opened at all, and all of the vents around the base of the building were covered in snow. Employee #1 had been refilling cylinders for approximately 1 hour when the explosion occurred. The explosion destroyed part of the building and burned Employee #1. The employee was wearing multiple layers of clothing and gloves. Employee #1's face and neck were exposed. The employee received second and third degree burns to his face and neck. During the course of the refilling process, propane builds up in the area, normally the vent systems, keeps the vapors below the LEL. On the day of the accident, all of the vents were blocked by snow. The cooler temperatures and lower relative humidity also increased the possibility of static electricity and increased the amount of energy in the static electricity charges. The ignition energy required to ignite propane vapors is lower than energy typically released by a static discharge. All ignition sources had been looked at and ruled out with the exception of static electricity. The accident could have been prevented, if the employer had maintained proper ventilation to keep the propane vapors below the LEL and if the employer had maintained a work environment that would have reduced static electricity. Employee #1 was hospitalized.
Keywords: burn, building, refueling, explosion, neck, propane, face, tank, cyanide
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 310746607 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Laborers, except construction

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