NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Pipe technician killed by coke oven gas pipe explosion.

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 08MI001, 2009 Mar; :1-11
On January 5, 2008, a 27-year-old male pipe technician was killed when he was struck by pieces of pipeline and explosion forces from a 54-inch coke oven gas (COG) pipe that exploded during repair activities. The site owner had subcontracted the company for whom the decedent worked to perform pipeline repairs. A by pass pipeline had been constructed on a 42-inch live COG pipe to an unused 54-inch COG pipe to allow for repairs in the future on the 42-inch COG pipe. The live 42-inch COG pipe was pressurized to 200 inches water column. The decedent and two crewmembers were hand tapping and using a pneumatic drill to affix gasketed steel cladding to patch the 54-inch pipe while two additional crewmembers were working on the ground. One patch was successfully installed before lunch. After lunch, the crew returned to work and was working on a second patch using a pneumatic drill and hand taps. Shortly after lunch, the three workers were affixing the second of three patches when an explosion occurred in the 54-inch pipe. The pipeline blew apart. The decedent's two coworkers survived and both made their way to the ground. The decedent was killed as a result of the explosion. After the dust from the explosion settled, the decedent was observed in his fall protection harness hanging upside down from the pipe's supporting ironwork near the area of the explosion. Emergency response was called. The site owner's security team arrived and began resuscitative efforts. Emergency personnel arrived and the decedent was declared dead. Recommendations: 1.) Employers should always treat pipes as "active" and test pipes for explosive gases before initiating and/or continuing work on the pipe after a period of inactivity. 2.) Employers who are performing work on machines or equipment where unexpected energization, start-up or release of stored energy could occur and cause injury should always place their own lock(s) on the machinery/equipment if their workers are scheduled to be the first to perform work. 3.) Site owners and subcontractors should ensure that effective communication is established for all site work.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Explosions; Explosive-atmospheres; Explosive-gases; Explosive-hazards; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Safety-practices; Training; Traumatic-injuries; Warning-signs; Warning-systems; Work-areas; Work-operations; Work-practices; Author Keywords: Explosion; Pipeline; Coke oven gas; Construction
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-08MI001; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008466
Priority Area
Wholesale and Retail Trade; Services
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: December 17, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division