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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200920296 - Employee Dies Of Burns In Fuel Tank Explosion

Accident: 200920296 -- Report ID: 0355114 -- Event Date: 07/06/2000
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30324542707/06/20007538D. A. Foster Co.
At approximately 11:00 a.m. on July 6, 2000, Employee #1 had a mechanic remove a 20-gallon fuel tank from a diesel-powered Davey mobile air compressor, model RPDQ-190, to repair a small leak. The mechanic drained about 8 gallons of diesel fuel from the tank and took the tank to Employee #1, who planned to put a fiberglass patch over the leak. The two workers placed the tank on a 5-gallon plastic bucket to contain any residual fuel that might still be inside. Employee #1 examined the tank and remarked to the mechanic that the tank was too wet for the patch to hold; he said he would have to dry it out. With the mechanic holding the tank vertical, Employee #1 turned on and lit an oxygen/acetylene cutting torch and placed the flame on the tank in the area of the leak. An explosion occurred that threw the mechanic 30 ft through the open bay doors and enveloped Employee #1 in flames. Other workers extinguished the fire on Employee #1 with a portable dry chemical fire extinguisher. Medics noted that his polyester clothing had melted into the second- and third-degree burns that covered over 70 percent of his body. He was flown by helicopter to Washington Hospital Center's intensive care burn unit, where he suffered respiratory arrest and died at 7:25 a.m. on July 16, 2000.
Keywords: burn, leak, repair, acetylene torch, diesel fuel tank, flammable liquid, flammable vapors, work rules, fire, explosion
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 303245427 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Welders and cutters

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