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Farmer killed by propane/methane flash fire.

Nebraska Department of Labor
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 02NE004, 2002 Nov; :1-6
A 36-year-old farmer died as a result of severe burns he received after either propane, methane or a combination of both ignited. On January 8, 2002, the victim went to his hog farrowing shed to check on some newly delivered baby pigs. Prior to entering he smelled propane, so opened up some doors to start ventilating the shed. He went around the facility and went to the propane tank located outside the building and shut it off. He went to his house and notified his wife about the gas leak. Together they went back to the shed and turned on two exhaust fans, one for the north side of the building, one for the south. The victim and his wife removed a broken shut off valve and reconnected the pipe without replacing the valve. His wife went outside to the propane tank and turned the valve on. When the victim attempted to light the south heater, his wife saw a flash of light from the eves and roof vent and immediately shut the valve off. The victim ran out of the hog shed with his clothes on fire. His wife was able to get him to the ground and used a coat to pat out the fire. Emergency personnel were called and the victim was life-flighted via helicopter to a nearby hospital burn center where he died five days later. The Nebraska Workforce Development, Department of Labor's Investigator concluded that to help prevent future similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Install gas/leak detectors. 2. Ensure that atmospheric testing equipment is available for use and personnel are trained on its operation. 3. Allow adequate time for accumulated flammable/explosives gases to be ventilated safely outside the facility. 4. Prior to re-lighting, check all joints, valves and associated piping for gas leaks.
Region-7; 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; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Farmers; Gases; Fire-hazards; Fire-safety; Burns
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-02NE004; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-709864
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Nebraska Department of Labor
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division