In January 1994, a welder was killed when the 12,600 gallon capacity sheet metal crude oil tank on which he was working collapsed, the top of which crushed his spinal cord. The welder was a contractor of an oil and gas field equipment company, working alone in a storage area salvaging parts of one tank to use on another. He was using an oxyacetylene torch to cut a section of the top of the 12-foot by 15-foot tank. The tank was laying on its side; two railroad ties had been placed under the body of the tank (parallel to the tank, perpendicular to the top) to allow the welder access to the entire rim of the flat top portion of the tank. The welder had freed the side portions of the top from the body of the tank, and was cutting the metal lowest to the ground when the injury occurred. He was laying with his head under the elevated tank body, his neck even with the top of the tank. While he was in this position, the tank collapsed around the railroad ties; the top separated from the body of the tank and lowered onto the welder's neck, crushing his spinal cord. The body was discovered approximately four hours after the estimated time of death. The Colorado Department of Health (CDH) investigator concluded that to prevent future similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Ensure that all employees are provided with the proper equipment to accomplish the assigned task. 2. Develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive written safety program. 3. Conduct a job-site survey on a regular basis to identify potential hazards, implement appropriate control measures, and provide subsequent training to employees that specifically addresses all identified hazards.
Region-8; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Safety-programs; Training; Welders; Welding; Welding-industry; Oil-industry