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Massachusetts loading dock worker dies in explosion of beer truck.

Massachusetts Department of Health
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 94MA012, 1994 Jun; :1-4
On January 26, 1994, a 33 year old, male, loading dock worker was fatally injured when a 40 foot trailer full of bottled beer exploded. The victim was employed by a Massachusetts commercial motor carrier. Due to a several week stretch of below freezing temperatures, the employer had rented propane heaters to place inside the trailers to keep the beer from freezing. The heaters were left on inside the trailers for several days, and then removed just a few days prior to the incident. When the explosion occurred, the victim was placing a methanol heater inside one of the trailers. He was the only worker on the loading docks. Immediately after the explosion, the manager of the company and several co-workers rushed outside and found the victim laying on the ground, covered with beer bottles and debris from the walls of the trailer, and suffering from burns and major trauma. The front and sides of the trailer were blown off. Fire fighters and EMTs were immediately summoned. They arrived, treated the victim for his injuries, and transported him to a metropolitan hospital where he died 6 days later. In order to prevent future similar occurrences the Massachusetts FACE Project recommends that employers: 1. Prohibit the storage and use of propane containers inside of commercial vehicles. 2. Prohibit the use of propane appliances inside of enclosed areas. 3. Ensure that all gas fired heating systems are equipped with an approved automatic shut-off device designed to stop the flow of gas to the main burner and the pilot in the event the pilot flame is extinguished. 4. Develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive safety program, that covers ALL workers. 5. Arrange for trailers containing perishable goods to be stored inside heated warehouses during sub-zero temperatures.
Region-1; 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; Dockworkers; Burns; Explosion; Explosion-damage; Explosive-atmospheres; Safety-programs; Propanes
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
FACE-94MA012; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-108704
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Massachusetts Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division