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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200962041 - Employee Burned When Metal Drum Explodes During Cutting

Accident: 200962041 -- Report ID: 0352410 -- Event Date: 06/13/1998
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
11954441906/22/19983499Wayne Patton, T/A Wayne'S Metalworks
On June 12, 1998, a man arrived at a metalworks and dropped off two 50-gallon metal containers, hoping that someone from the company could cut holes in them to make burn barrels. No one of sufficient authority was at the business, so the containers were left at the site and no work was done on them that day. On June 13, the man returned for his barrels. The company owner had told the workers to perform the work once the man returned, leaving no other instructions. Employee #1 and a coworker were using an acetylene/oxygen cutting torch to perform the work. Before starting on a drum, Employee #1 asked the man if the drums were clean, to which he responded that they were. The coworker had walked away from the immediate area to see why his plasma torch was not functioning. Meanwhile, Employee #1 applied his torch to the base of the container. Since the bungs on the container had never been opened, Employee #1 had no way to verify that it had been effectively purged. Shortly after the flame was introduced to the container, the vapors within ignited, resulting in an explosion and fire. Employee #1 suffered second- and third-degree burns, and was hospitalized. The container that he had been cutting had contained 99 isopropyl alcohol and had never been purged. It was effectively labeled and also had warning placards, but neither worker looked at the warning labels until after the explosion had occurred.
Keywords: burn, isopropyl alcohol, acetylene torch, flammable vapors, work rules, drum, fire, explosion, cutting and burning, inattention
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 119544419 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Welders and cutters

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