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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 201798808 - Employee Is Burned After Explosion In Chemical Baking Oven

Accident: 201798808 -- Report ID: 0950644 -- Event Date: 05/21/2004
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30133216905/25/20042499Mc Gill Corporation
At approximately 7:52 p.m. on May 21, 2004, an employee was working as a "Prepreg-Lead", which he has been doing for last 31 years. The employer had three chemical baking and drying ovens at site which were used for baking and drying nomex-blocks and were pre-dipped in a solvent tank containing "Phenol Formaldehyde Resin" in a nearby room. The nomex blocks were then taken out from the solvent tank and transported in a cradle, which was then placed inside one of the ovens for the baking and drying process. The baking process took anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes depending on size of the block. Phenol- Formaldehyde Resin contained isopropanol which was highly flammable and had a LFL level of 2 and UFL level of 12 by volume. Immediately prior to accident, the LFL level inside the Oven Number 2 was noted to be 23 by volume but in reality it must have surpassed the 25 level to initiate the fire and explosion in the first place, as per official who participated in the inspection. On accident day, the nomex-block was inside the baking oven for about 15 minutes for the baking process when an explosion occurred inside Oven Number 2, which forced open the twin doors of the oven, oven size 15-ft by 12-ft, door size 7-ft by 4-ft. The fire traveled at least 25 feet horizontally from the oven and hit the employee walking in the baking area. The employee's clothing caught fire, and he suffered burns to his arms and face requiring 10 days stay in a local hospital. The oven operator was not present near the control's panel located outside for de-energizing the system because he was on lunch break. The employer indicated that there was an identical fire accident about 15 years ago in another oven but no one was injured in that accident. Though employer indicated that ventilation system was running alright at the accident time but it was the belief of the safety engineer that it was not adequate to keep the flammable vapors from surpassing the LFL level of 25 by volume, as required by regulation. The employee was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment and hospitalized for 10 days due to burns to his arms and face.
Keywords: burn, isopropanol, explosion, arm, face, formaldehyde
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 301332169 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Furnace, kiln and oven operators

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