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Anhydrous ammonia nurse tank rupture kills agricultural cooperative worker.

Iowa Department of Public 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 03IA027, 2005 Jun; :1-6
A 68-year-old male agricultural cooperative worker died from complications associated with injuries he sustained two weeks earlier when an anhydrous ammonia nurse tank ruptured in the spring of 2003. Just prior to the incident, the victim and a coworker had been filling four nurse tanks with liquefied anhydrous ammonia at a nurse tank refilling station. The victim had just finished filling and disconnecting the nurse tank from the anhydrous ammonia transfer system, when a seam at the base of the cylinder near the front split open, causing a rapid expansion, and subsequent explosion of the escaping anhydrous ammonia. The force from this event threw the coworker against a nearby pickup, and knocked him unconscious. The victim shut off the anhydrous ammonia transfer system and went to aid his fallen coworker. Emergency response personnel arrived at the scene and stabilized the victim and coworker. Both men suffered chemical burns to more than 50 percent of their body surface area, and had eye and respiratory system injuries. The coworker survived his injuries but the victim died thirteen days later from complications associated with the incident: pneumonia due to inhalation burns. Recommendations based on our investigation are as follows: 1. Owners of liquefied anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks should institute periodic testing programs to ensure that the tanks remain structurally sound. 2. Employers and operators should ensure that emergency response procedures are in place and utilized by workers to adequately protect them from hazards.
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; Equipment-design; Equipment-reliability; Farmers; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Machine-operation; Chemical-burns
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Grant
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-03IA027; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-708674; Grant-Number-T42-OH-008491
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Iowa Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division