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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200962603 - Employee Injured When Hot Slag Explodes After Striking Water

Accident: 200962603 -- Report ID: 0352430 -- Event Date: 01/03/1999
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30246320301/03/19993312Bethlehem Steel Corporation
Employee #1's shift started at 6:00 a.m. on January 3, 1999, after a night of heavy rain. He was working in the slag-away area, where huge slag pot carriers brought over bowls of molten slag and other hot metal debris that were dumped into either the pit area or into the knocking pit area. At the time of the accident, it had been 1 1/2 hours since the last bowl had been brought over. The rain hitting the hot slag was creating a lot of steam, severely reducing visibility. In addition, it was still dark and very overcast from the storm. The bad visibility affected the ability of Employee #1, who was operating a Kress SW4 slag pot (bowl) carrier, to see if there was any standing water on the knocking side. He had driven to the basic operating furnace, where the bowl was loaded with molten slag. A crusting scull of solidified slag formed inside the bowl while it traveled the 1/4 mile distance from the furnace to the slag-away area. Upon arrival, he dumped the molten slag into a pit on the pit side. He then backed out, turned the carrier 180 degrees, and backed it up to the knocking station. He de-sculled the bowl by striking it against the wall. When the scull fell to the floor of the knocking pit, it landed in some standing water that had accumulated from the storm. The scull then spread out, and some of the molten slag may have trapped the standing water. There followed an explosion with heavy concussions, which caused the scull to blow partially apart and pieces of hot metal to fly everywhere. The explosion and concussions knocked three windows out of the Employee #1's cab and cracked the fourth window. Hot pieces of metal began falling on the bowl carrier and Employee #1, who was scared, got out of the operator's cab. He was standing on the outside platform when pieces of slag landed in the standing water in the knocking pit. This caused a second explosion and more concussions, louder and stronger than the first ones. Employee #1 was knocked from the platform and fell about 8 ft onto the muddy ground. He was then struck by the falling pieces of hot metal. He suffered second-degree burns to his face and to both legs, as well as strained ligaments in his left leg and ankle when he fell. Paramedics treated Employee #1 before transporting him Bayview Burn Center.
Keywords: molten slag, equipment operator, explosion, fall, struck by, poor visibility, water
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 302463203 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Truck drivers, heavy

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