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Automotive Mechanic Fatally Burned While Using Welder When Washer Fluid Drum Explodes —Massachusetts

Massachusetts Case Report: 19MA058
Release Date: July 15, 2022


An automotive mechanic working for a gas station and service garage was severely burned when a drum of flammable window washer fluid exploded as he was using the drum as a workbench for welding. The Massachusetts FACE Program learned of the incident from the local news media on the day of the incident, September 25, 2019. The Massachusetts FACE Program received notification from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services that the worker had sustained burns to an estimated 75% of his body and was being treated at a regional trauma center on September 26, 2019. On November 6, 2019, a representative from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner notified FACE that the worker had died from his injuries on November 5, 2019. On December 10, 2019, a representative from the Massachusetts FACE Program spoke with the owner of the gas station to discuss the incident. Several records were reviewed during the investigation. The records reviewed included local and state police reports; the reports from the state police unit assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal to investigate fires, explosions, and arson; the electronic death registration system; OSHA records; and information from the welder and window washer fluid manufacturers.

Key contributing factors identified in this investigation include:

  • Worksite lacked a proper welding station
  • Welding in the vicinity of a drum containing flammable materials
  • Lack of a safety and health program and overall safety training

The Massachusetts FACE Program concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:

  • Provide an appropriate location to perform welding work. All hot work should be a safe distance away from flammable and combustible liquids. Ensure workers using welding equipment are trained in the safe operation of their equipment.
  • Ensure that all workers are properly trained about hazardous materials in the workplace.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive safety and health program that addresses hazard recognition, avoidance of unsafe conditions, and proper use of equipment

Automotive Mechanic Fatally Burned While Using Welder When Washer Fluid Drum Explodes —Massachusetts[PDF – 1,369 KB]

List of Revisions
Revision Date Revisions
March 30, 2022 (Original)
July 15, 2022
  1. Introduction – Date victim treated at trauma center and date of death was updated from 2021 to 2019.
  2. Recommendation #2 – 1st paragraph, beginning of sentence was added – it was blank in the original
  3. Grammatical errors were corrected.