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Wood floor sanders killed when floor finishing product catches fire - Massachusetts.
FACE Facts 2006 Mar; :1-2
Wood floor finishing can expose workers, building occupants, and homeowners to fire hazards. In Massachusetts, three wood floor sanders died within a 10 month period (September 2004-July 2005) in two separate fires when the flammable lacquer floor sealer they were using caught fire. The sealer used in these incidents was highly flammable (flash point 9 degrees F/-13 degrees C). All three of the fatally injured workers were Vietnamese immigrants. Incident 1: Two floor sanders died from burns and two were seriously burned while they were refinishing wood floors in a three-family house. The house caught fire while the workers were applying a lacquer sealer that was ignited by a pilot light in a gas stove. At the time of the fire, windows were closed and no other means of ventilation were being used. Incident 2: One floor sander died from burns and another received minor burns while finishing wood floors that they installed in a single family house. The house caught fire while the workers were applying a lacquer sealer that was ignited by a pilot light on a gas hot water heater. The heater was located in a closet on the same level of the house where the floors were being finished. At the time of the fire, the front door was open, but windows were closed and no other means of ventilation were being used. How can you help prevent fire during floor finishing? Use less flammable wood floor finishing products (products with flash points greater than 100 degrees F/38 degrees C) for indoor applications. Extinguish all open flames and other ignition sources before beginning work. Extinguish gas appliance pilots (on stoves, hot water heaters, heating units, clothes dryers, and other appliances). Turn off and unplug cycling electrical appliances (such as refrigerators, air conditioners, heating units, hot water heaters) and other electrical devices. Do not light or smoke cigarettes while you are working. Do not turn light switches on or off during the floor finishing process; turn off power to work area, if possible. Adequately ventilate work areas during wood floor finishing. Open windows; keep open during product application until product is dry. If electric fans are used for ventilation, they must be classified as explosion proof and be plugged in outside of the work area.
Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Injury-prevention; Protective-measures; Fire-hazards; Fire-prevention; Flammable-liquids; Ventilation; Ventilation-systems
Occupational Health Surveillance Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 250 Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Disease and Injury: Traumatic Injuries
Fatality Investigation Report: FACE Facts
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division