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Two Vietnamese floor sanders die when wood floor finish product ignites.

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 04MA032, 2006 Jan; :1-15
On September 2, 2004, two 35-year-old floor sanders (victims) were fatally injured and two other floor sanders were burned, one seriously, when the three-family house they were working in caught fire. The victims were refinishing the wood floors in the third floor unit and the stairs leading up to the third floor unit of the multifamily house. The incident occurred when the flammable lacquer floor sealer that they were applying ignited, causing the house to catch fire. Calls were placed to emergency medical services (EMS) and the fire department. Within minutes, EMS and fire department personnel arrived at the site to attend to the victims and control the fire. One of the victims was pronounced dead at the scene. The other three workers were transported to a local hospital where a second worker died of his burns the following day. The Massachusetts FACE Program concluded that to prevent similar occurrences in the future, employers should: 1. Use wood floor finishing products that are less flammable (products with flash points greater than 100 degrees F) for indoor applications. 2. Ensure that ignition sources including gas pilot lights are extinguished prior to beginning work. 3. Ensure that work areas are adequately ventilated during indoor application of wood floor finishing products. 4. Conduct job hazard analyses and implement and enforce a safety checklist to be completed prior to beginning work. 5. Develop, implement, and enforce a written hazard communication program that includes training employees about the chemicals they work with and the associated hazards and controls of these chemicals. The wood floor finishing industry and other stakeholders, such as contractors, insurance companies, and government agencies should: 6. Educate consumers about the hazards associated with finishing wood floors and actions that can be taken to minimize these hazards, such as the use of less flammable floor finishing products. Homeowners finishing wood floors themselves or through hired contractors should: 7. Ensure that only less flammable floor finishing products (products with flash points greater than 100 degrees F) are used inside their homes. In addition, policymakers should: 8. Consider developing regulatory approaches to minimize the risk of fires and explosions during wood floor finishing.
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; Training; Flammable-liquids; Wood-products; Fire-hazards; Regulations; Wood
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-04MA032; 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