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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 201170560 - Three Employees Burned In Underground Tank Explosion

Accident: 201170560 -- Report ID: 0950621 -- Event Date: 12/05/1997
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
12579973412/05/19971799Semco
Two employees were checking the thickness of a new epoxy liner that was installed on a 37.9-kiloliter underground gasoline storage tank. An employee from Semco was helping an employee from Hake Consulting and Inspection. The employees entered the tank to check the hardness and thickness of the new liner without testing the tank's atmosphere for explosive vapors or oxygen before entry. To find spots or holes in the lining, they were using a Holiday Detector, which created an electric arc when a pinhole in the lining was detected. The tank contained gasoline vapors, which had migrated from a vapor recovery line for a full 15.2-kiloliter tank. An explosion occurred and burned three employees. Two of the employees were very badly burned. One of them sustained burns over more than 70 percent of his body (including extensive third-degree burns). Another sustained extensive burns on his arms and legs. The third employee had burns of a nonserious nature. The three employees were taken, by helicopter, to a medical center.
Keywords: burn, e gi v, electric arc, electrical, confined space, flammable vapors, storage tank, test equipment, explosion, gasoline
End Use Proj Type Proj Cost Stories NonBldgHt Fatality
Other building Alteration or rehabilitation $50,000 to $250,000 8
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation Construction
1 125799734 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Painters, construction and maintenance FallDist:
FallHt:
Cause: Interior painting and decorating
FatCause: Fire/explosion
2 125799734 Non Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Painters, construction and maintenance FallDist:
FallHt:
Cause: Interior painting and decorating
FatCause: Fire/explosion

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