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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 825505 - Employee Killed When Steam Line Ruptured

Accident: 825505 -- Report ID: 0352420 -- Event Date: 07/24/1987
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
1887194707/27/19874961Baltimore Thermal Energy Corp.
AT APPROXIMATELY 11:30 PM ON JULY 24, 1987, A 4 INCH DIAMETER STRAINER RUPTURED CAUSING A HIGH PRESSURE STEAM LEAK. THE STRAINER WAS PART OF A STEAM PIPELINE WHICH ENTERS THE BOILER ROOM OF THE I.B.M. BUILDING. THE STEAM LEAK WAS LOCATED IN AN UNDERGROUND VAULT, WHICH IS CONNECTED TO A TUNNEL LEADING INTO THE BOILER ROOM OF THE I.B.M. BUILDING. THE VAULT HAS A REMOVABLE METAL GRATE TOP FROM WHICH A WORK LADDER IS USED TO GAIN ACCESS INTO THE VAULT. THE NIGHT CREW HAD REPLACED THE RUPTURED STRAINER WITH A NEW ONE. IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS OF THE NEXT DAY (7/25), SEVERAL EMPLOYEES HAD TROUBLE ADJUSTING THE REGULATOR PILOT VALVES. THE PILOT VALVES CONTROL THE STEAM PRESSURE FLOW INTO THE I.B.M. BUILDING. THAT MORNING AT ABOUT 6 AM, EMPLOYEE #1 WAS CALLED IN TO TAKE OVER THE ADJUSTMENTS OF THE PILOT VALVES. FROM 6:45 TO 9 AM HE WAS WORKING BY HIMSELF. AT APPROXIMATELY 9 AM THE 4 INCH STRAINER RUPTURED AGAIN. HE HURRIED INTO THE TUNNEL TRYING TO ESCAPE THE STEAM. HE DID NOT MAKE IT TO SAFETY. HIS BODY WAS FOUND IN THE TUNNEL ABOUT 30 FEET FROM THE DOORWAY LEADING INTO THE BOILER ROOM. THE VAULT WAS 16 FEET, 8 INCHES LONG, 8 FEET WIDE AND 8 FEET, 11 INCHES HIGH. THE TUNNEL WAS 223 FEET, 7 INCHES LONG, 6 FEET, 10 INCHES WIDE AND 10 FEET HIGH.
Keywords: steam line, tunnel, electrical vault, confined space, work rules, boiler, rupture, steam, pipeline
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 18871947 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters

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