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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 869446 - Employees Injured By Reactor Explosion And Fire

Accident: 869446 -- Report ID: 0522000 -- Event Date: 07/19/1990
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
10132060407/19/19902851Basf Corporation - Coatings And Colorants Division
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
10132061207/19/19902851Basf Corporation - Coatings And Colorants Division
Employee #4 was cleaning the #6 chemical reactor on July 19, 1990, with a flammable mixture of solvents when the reactor burst its rupture disc and the mixture was expelled into the plant. The solvent ignited and the vapor cloud explosion resulted in the plant's 43 employees being injured by flying debris and/or being thrown by the force of the explosion. Employee #4 eventually died from his burns. Employee #1, a maintenance employee, was moving away from the area when he was struck in the head and killed by debris flung during the explosion. Employees #3, #6, #7, #8, #9, #16, and #19 were located in the manufacturing offices in Building 4, about 75 ft south of the reactor. Employees #2, #10, #11, #12, #14, #15, and #17 all worked in Building G, 50 to 75 ft southwest of the reactor and were leaving when the explosion either threw debris at them or threw their bodies onto equipment or debris. Employee #5 was in the same building as the reactor and was thrown down by the explosion, sustaining burns and crushing injuries. Employee #13 sprained his knee while moving from the break room to the courtyard, about 100 ft southeast of the reactor. Employee #18 suffered a sprained left thigh and a bruised shoulder. It appeared that the reactor was not vented to a safe location and had primitive temperature controls, and the company did not enforce the mandatory attendance of operators at the reactors during operation. All of these factors, including minimal operating procedures (none specifically for cleaning), led to the explosion and the resulting extensive injuries and property damage.
Keywords: vapor, reactor, flammable liquid, venting, work rules, cleaning, fire, explosion, struck by, flying object
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Cut/Laceration Occupation not reported
2 101320604 Hospitalized injury Fracture Occupation not reported
3 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Strain/Sprain Occupation not reported
4 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Strain/Sprain Occupation not reported
5 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Bruise/Contus/Abras Occupation not reported
6 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Bruise/Contus/Abras Occupation not reported
7 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Bruise/Contus/Abras Occupation not reported
8 101320604 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
9 101320604 Hospitalized injury Fracture Occupation not reported
10 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Strain/Sprain Occupation not reported
11 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Puncture Occupation not reported
12 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Strain/Sprain Occupation not reported
13 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Strain/Sprain Occupation not reported
14 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Other Occupation not reported
15 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Strain/Sprain Occupation not reported
16 101320604 Hospitalized injury Fracture Occupation not reported
17 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Cut/Laceration Occupation not reported
18 101320604 Hospitalized injury Cut/Laceration Occupation not reported
19 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Fracture Occupation not reported
20 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Bruise/Contus/Abras Occupation not reported
21 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Strain/Sprain Occupation not reported
22 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Burn(Chemical) Occupation not reported
23 101320604 Fatality Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
24 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Bruise/Contus/Abras Occupation not reported
25 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Hernia Occupation not reported
26 101320604 Hospitalized injury Fracture Occupation not reported
27 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Fracture Occupation not reported
28 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Cut/Laceration Occupation not reported
29 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Fracture Occupation not reported
30 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Bruise/Contus/Abras Occupation not reported
31 101320604 Fatality Puncture Occupation not reported
32 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Cut/Laceration Occupation not reported
33 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Strain/Sprain Occupation not reported
34 101320604 Hospitalized injury Cut/Laceration Occupation not reported
35 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Bruise/Contus/Abras Occupation not reported
36 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Strain/Sprain Occupation not reported
37 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Cut/Laceration Occupation not reported
38 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Strain/Sprain Occupation not reported
39 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Strain/Sprain Occupation not reported
40 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Puncture Occupation not reported
41 101320604 Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Occupation not reported
42 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Cut/Laceration Occupation not reported
43 101320604 Non Hospitalized injury Strain/Sprain Occupation not reported
44 101320612 Occupation Not Listed

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