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Scrap metal cutter dies from injuries sustained in storage tank explosion.

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 98AK021, 1999 Jan; :1-9
On July 28, 1998, a 29-year-old scrap metal cutter (the victim) died from injuries sustained in an explosion. At the time of the incident, the victim had been cutting a vehicle frame for salvage with a torch. He was working 8 to 10 feet from a 1500-gallon storage tank, which he and a co-worker had unloaded from a truck earlier that day. At the time of the explosion, the co-worker was working 10 to 15 feet away from the tank. Escaping vapors from the tank were ignited by spatter from the cutting activities, causing the tank to explode. The victim was engulfed in flames, igniting his clothing and causing burns over 45% of his body. The co-worker extinguished the victim's burning clothing and helped him walk to the company's shop building. An office worker called 911. Emergency medical services transported the victim to a nearby medical center that transferred him to a medical center in Washington. He died 15 days later from complications associated with the burn injuries. Based on the findings of the investigation, to prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive safety program; 2. Ensure a competent person inspects all work areas where hot work will be done; 3. Ensure workers are capable of recognizing and avoiding hazardous situations; 4. Ensure all storage tanks are inspected, tested, and appropriately labeled prior to moving them; 5. Ensure appropriate storage (e.g., location and position) of used tanks.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-10; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Training; Safety-programs; Occupational-safety-programs; Metal-fumes; Metal-industry; Metal-industry-workers; Burns; Welders; Cutting-tools; Explosions; Explosive-atmospheres; Explosive-gases
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-98AK021; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-007089
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division