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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 202531612 - Two Refrigeration Technicians Sustain Corneal Burns

Accident: 202531612 -- Report ID: 0950664 -- Event Date: 10/24/2012
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
31364692912/06/20120723Grapeman Farm Dba Luchich Farm-Steveco
At approximately 9:50 a.m. on October 24, 2012, Employees #1 and #2 were working as mechanical engineering technicians at Grapeman Farm, dba Lucich Farm-Stevco (Stevco), in Bakersfield CA. Stevco was a food cold storage facility. The two workers were troubleshooting a Hansen Technology Model AP08 Auto-Purger. The Auto-Purger removed non-condensable material from the refrigeration system at Stevco. It was mounted on a wall inside the facility's anhydrous ammonia compressor room. At the time of the accident, the unit was actively running and leaking liquid onto the floor. The liquid, which contained anhydrous ammonia, was corrosive. Both employees were standing near the unit. Employee #2 was refitting a cap back onto a bubbler to stop a leak. He was using a wrench to tap the cap onto the pipe section. Within minutes, the bottom pipe section of the cylinder separated from the upper section, resulting in a liquid spray that contacted the eyes, face, and body of both employees. Employees #1 and #2 sustained corneal burns. Employee #1 needed surgery as a result of this injury. Causal factors to this accident were the failure to maintain the Auto-Purger to the manufacturer's design specifications, and a clogged drainage pipe leading to a pressure build up in the system. Additionally, the employer did not ensure that employees were using adequate eye and face protection. The employer notified the Van Nuys District office of the incident on October 31, 2012. The case was then transferred to the Process Safety Management unit on November 5, 2012.
Keywords: eye, leak, maintenance, anhydrous ammonia, corrosive, chemical burn, refrigerator, face, pressure release
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 313646929 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Mechanical engineering technicians
2 313646929 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Mechanical engineering technicians

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