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Laborer dies in explosion in Pennsylvania, July 14, 1988.

Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 88-30, 1988 Nov; :1-7
The case of an 18 year old male laborer who died as a result of an explosion that occurred while he was making repairs on the interior of a tanker truck compartment was examined. The victim was employed by a truck and trailer repair shop that had no written safety policy or safety program. All employees received on the job training. The victim worked for the company for 45 days. The victim was to repair a crack in an interior compartment wall of a tanker truck. The compartment to be fixed, number 3, was steam cleaned while the other three compartments of the truck were left sealed. The compartment atmosphere was not tested for toxicity or explosiveness prior to entrance. The victim entered the compartment and used an electric grinder to prepare the crack for welding. An explosion occurred in compartment 2. The top sections of the double wall separating compartments 2 and 3 were blown off and wrapped around the victim's head, crushing his skull. The manifest indicated that compartments 1 and 2 had previously been filled with gasoline. All four compartment drains were open which may have allowed explosive vapors to accumulate in the drain lines. If the atmosphere in the compartment had been tested prior to the beginning of work, it may have alerted the victim that a problem existed. Had all four compartments been steam cleaned and drained, the possibility of explosion would have been reduced. It was also noted that the power cord on the grinder had visible bare conductors and should have been repaired.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-88-30; Region-3; Accident-analysis; Safety-research; Work-practices; Welders; Confined-spaces; Explosive-hazards; Head-injuries
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division