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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 707216 - One Employee Killed, Three Injured In Drum Explosion/Fire

Accident: 707216 -- Report ID: 0352420 -- Event Date: 01/05/1988
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
10440500601/08/19883312Bethlehem Steel Corporation
Employees #1 and #3 were attempting to fill a 3 gal bucket from a closed 55 gal drum containing Rust-Veto, a rust prevention material. The drum was placed horizontally on a rack and a valve spout was pulled in the top. The rust prevention material was very thick and would not pour out of the spout. An oxyacetylene torch was placed under the center of the drum approximately 4 in. from its surface. After three minutes, the rust prevention material began pouring into a bucket that had been hung on the valve spout. After five minutes, the material in the bucket ignited and the top blew off the drum. Employee #1 tried to move back but he was ignited by the burning material. Employees #2 through #4 were injured while extinguishing the fire on Employee #1. He sustained third-degree burns to 98 percent of his body and died at the F.S. Key Burn Center at 12:50 p.m. on January 12, 1988. Employee #2 sustained third-degree burns to both arms and hands. Employees #3 and #4 sustained first-degree burns to their hands. The employer has a written work rule and a haz-tox program for use of open flame on rust prevention material, in addition to a warning label on the top of the 55 gal drum.
Keywords: burn, acetylene torch, work rules, drum, fire, clogged, explosion, combustible liquid, arm, hand
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 104405006 Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Industrial machinery repairers
2 104405006 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Industrial machinery repairers
3 104405006 Fatality Burn(Chemical) Industrial machinery repairers
4 104405006 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Industrial machinery repairers

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