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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 201082641 - Employee Burned In Bomb Squad Detonation

Accident: 201082641 -- Report ID: 0950625 -- Event Date: 07/12/2000
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30079973107/13/20009221Kern Co Sheriff Dept
On July 12, 2000, Employee #1 and two coworkers, all members of the Kern County (CA) Sheriff's Department bomb squad, were conducting their monthly training session, during which they would explode any ordnance or explosive materials that had come into the possession of the department during the preceding month. The squad had already set off several explosives when Employee #1, a deputy sheriff, was setting up a blast 15 ft to 20 ft away from previous explosions, by pouring black powder from a plastic bag onto the ground. As he did this, the powder ignited into a slow explosion, seriously burning Employee #1's hands, arms, and chest. He also suffered first-degree burns to his face. The two coworkers sustained less serious burns. All three workers were transported to the hospital, and Employee #1 was then transferred to University Medical Center in Fresno. The source of ignition was not determined. The black powder was comparatively volatile, and required little heat to explode. The deputies later theorized that an ember from one of the previous blasts, 15 ft to 20 ft away, would have been sufficient to cause the explosion. The deputies were well trained in their bomb squad duties, having attended primary and advanced FBI training, substantial training from other sources, and annual refresher training. The deputies were not using protective gear while setting off the blasts. Nomex coveralls and face shields would have mitigated the injuries to the arms, face, and chest. Gloves could not be worn as their reduced tactility and mobility would have presented more of a hazard, given the delicate nature of the work. The employer was cited for violations of T8CCR 3383(a), for lack of adequate body protection, and T8CCR 3382(a), for lack of adequate face protection.
Keywords: burn, chest, explosives, protective clothing, ppe, work rules, fire, explosion, combustible dust, hand
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 300799731 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Sheriffs, bailiffs, other law enforcement officers

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