Welder dies during welding repair inside of cargo tank compartment.
Michigan State University
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 06MI188, 2008 Apr; :1-9
On November 16, 2006, a 27-year-old male welder was killed while performing MIG welding repairs to the inside of a cargo tank that previously held diesel fuel. The four-compartment tanker was rinsed with steam and cooled, and then transferred into the work area. The decedent placed a ventilation hose into Compartment #4 by opening the ten-inch fill lid of the portal covering. After visually checking the outside of the tanker to confirm the leak location, the decedent removed the portal cover for Compartment #3 and transferred the ventilation hose from Compartment #4 to Compartment #3. The decedent did not open the portal covers for compartments #1 and #2. With the blower hose operational, the decedent entered Compartment #3 on four different occasions; once to check the Compartment for the leak location, once to perform grinding to prepare the leak location for welding repair, and twice to perform welding. It is unknown if the decedent conducted air monitoring. After entering Compartment #3 for the fourth time, vapors from Compartment #4 ignited during the welding in Compartment #3 and an explosion occurred. The decedent died at the scene. Recommendations: 1. Employers should identify areas that are classified as a confined space and meet the requirements of a permit-required confined space (PRCS). They should then develop a written PRCS program if employees will be entering the space. The written PRCS should include: 2. a procedure to document boiler operation and tanker cleaning, 3. a requirement for atmospheric monitoring and forced air ventilation in adjacent compartments when conducting hot work, such as welding, within a tanker compartment, and 4. a hot work permit for confined spaces. 5. Employers should review welding practices to ensure proper welding techniques are used. 6. Bulk transport trade organizations should develop a sample tank cleaning procedure that addresses the safety and health issues inherent in the tank cleaning process and welding performed to repair leaks.
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