June 22, 2021

High pressure water can kill

 At 5:45 p.m. on April 29, 2018, an employee was inspecting a leak beneath a valve. The employee was struck by high pressure water at 2,200 psi when the valve failed and came off, penetrating his upper torso. The employee was killed. 


June 18, 2021

Hydraulic hose incident

 At 6:15 p.m. on November 20, 2017, an employee was working on a hydraulic leak on Filter Press #1 at the Pollution Control Plant. The employee was struck on the left side of his head by a high pressure hydraulic hose which was released from a tee fitting. The employee sustained trauma to the head when struck by the high pressure hydraulic hose fitting and was killed. 


June 14, 2021

Hydrogen explosion

 At 9:23 a.m. on November 17, 2018, an employee was stabilizing magnesium metal. Magnesium is reacted with water to make magnesium oxide, which is a more stable compound. During this process hydrogen and oxygen are released. The hydrogen ignited and in the presence of oxygen and created a large explosion. The employee was killed. 


June 10, 2021

Ammonia incident

 On January 10, 2020, Employees #1 and #2 were working from a scissor lift and dismantling an ammonia blast freezer in preparation for installing a new freezer. As they worked, ammonia was released. Employee #1 was killed by the chemical exposure. Employee #2 self-rescued, but was seriously injured. He was transported to the hospital and treated for severe burns and inhalation injuries. 


June 7, 2021


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June 6, 2021

Hydrogen Sulphide accident

 At 11:00 a.m. on July 7, 2017, Employee #1was attempting to dislodge a 24 inch rubber plug from a 2foot diameter sewer pipe located inside a 24foot deep wet well. The workers were outside the well pulling on a 1/4-inch nylon rope that was attached to the 24-inch diameter plug. The plug was lodged inside a T-shaped PVC fitting from the force of the waste water emptying into the well. Without conducting any atmospheric testing of the work space, Employee #1 climbed down the ladder with a crowbar to dislodge the deflated 24inch diameter rubber plug, which was about 8 feet below the top of the well. He had difficulty releasing the plug with the crowbar and started to make his way up the ladder. He lost consciousness when he was about 2 feet from the top of the well and fell into the 24 foot deep well. Employee #2 descended down the ladder to provide emergency rescue, but lost consciousness and went underwater. The waste water level was about 3 feet deep at this point. Employee #3 climbed down the ladder to provide emergency rescue, but consciousness as well. All three workers were asphyxiated by hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. 

Source: osha.gov

June 2, 2021

Confined space incident

 At 12:30 p.m. on February 20, 2020, Employee #1, employed by a structural steel fabricator and erector company, was entering a tank to clean it. The tank had a combination of Ecocure II and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) residues and had been purged with nitrogen. Employee #1 entered the permit required confined space that contained the residual chemicals and nitrogen to perform the cleaning operations. She was overcome by the oxygen deficient atmosphere. Employee #2, employed by a chemical distribution company, entered the tank to make a rescue attempt for Employee #1. He was also overcome from the oxygen deficient atmosphere. Both employees were killed by asphyxiation. 


May 29, 2021


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May 17, 2021

Learn from this incident

Employee #1 and several coworkers were working at a chemical plant that deals with nitric oxide. On the day of the accident, a major leak occurred in a stainless steel distillation column. The nitric oxide leaked into the facilities surrounding vacuum jacket and into the atmosphere through a pump, which controls a high quality vacuum inside the jacket to minimize transmission of heat toward the cryogenic distillation columns. A brown cloud quickly formed and the temperature and the pressure inside the distillation column and its surrounding vacuum jacket began to rise. The leak was detected and the vacuum pump was turned off to halt the leakage of nitric oxide into the atmosphere, allowing the pressure inside the column and vacuum jacket to stabilize around 130 psi. Although stabilized, the pressure was far above the normal pressure of less than or equal to atmospheric pressure (14.7 psi). Approximately 3 hours later, an explosion occurred. The operation and process were destroyed, and debris flew through the plant. Employee #1 suffered lacerations due to flying glass and was treated at a local hospital, where he received stitches and then released. A detailed investigation determined that the cause of the explosion was most likely due to something inside the vacuum jacket initiated the dissociation of nitric oxide, a reaction that is very rapid, exothermic, and self-propagating once started. 


May 13, 2021

Accident due to a change implemented during an emergency

Reactor #1, part of the ABS polymerization process began to overheat as the viscosity increased and threatened to stop agitation. This would cause a runaway reaction and ultimately result in an explosion. A small leak had developed in the lower bushing of the agitator and the employer instructed an employee to tighten it with a wrench. The employer replaced the normal feed (a mixture of styrene monomer, ground rubber, and acrylonitrile) with pure styrene monomer, which has a much lower viscosity, to "flush" the process in the hope that this would stop the leak. The mixture began to spill through the lower agitator packing and at approximately 2:30 p.m., there occurred a major spill of styrene monomer (flammable) and acrylonitrile (flammable and carcinogenic). They evacuated the plant and called for outside assistance to stop the spill and initiate clean-up. 

Source: OSHA.gov

May 5, 2021

Employee Killed By Inadvertently Drinking Acid Cleaning Fluid

At approximately 9:30 a.m. on October 3, 2002, an employee who worked for a company that provided vehicle maintenance such as car washes, detailing, fueling, and lube and oil servicing, inadvertently drank acid from a plastic spray bottle while he was on a rest break. The employee, feeling very ill after ingesting the contents of the quart bottle, asked his coworkers to transport him to the hospital. He was taken to San Antonio Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:49 a.m. from internal injuries. Laboratory analysis indicated that the acid solution in the plastic bottle contained hydrofluoric acid and phosphoric acid with a pH of less than one. 


May 1, 2021

Employee dies in explosiove reaction

 At 12:00 p.m. on November 5, 2019, Employee #1 was making a small spot weld on a piece of metal. He was performing the weld on a drum of that contained flammable windshield washer fluid. There was an explosive reaction, and the cover of drum hit the employee's face. Liquid splashed on the employee and was ignited by the explosion. Employee #1's clothes caught on fire. He sustained body burns and was killed. 


April 27, 2021

Be careful while excavating

 At 8:30 a.m. on August 1, 2020, Employees #1, #2, and #3, employed by a electrical services company in the telecommunications field, were working on a multi-employer construction project at the intersection of two streets. They were potholing to locate underground utility lines, with the aim to then bore in a new fiber optic line under the intersection. After finding what they thought was over-pour from the concrete curb, they used a Ring-o-matic Vacuum Excavator to excavate over top of the concrete. They then used a jackhammer on the concrete. The jackhammer bit made contact with a 12,470-volt underground electrical distribution line, and an electric arc explosion occurred. Employees #1 and #2 were killed by electrocution. Employee #3, who was knocked down by the force of the explosion, was transported to the hospital, where he was observed, determined to have no injuries, and released. 


April 23, 2021

Employee injured by pressurised gas release

 At approximately 9:00 p.m. on August 8, 2006, Employees #1 and #2 attempted to clean out a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger was part of a natural gas piping system in the power generation facility of a wastewater treatment plant. The heat exchanger contained methane and natural gas, pressurized to approximately 300 pounds per square inch. Approximately 200 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide contaminant was present in the natural gas. The natural gas piping system contained two compressors, labeled Compressor A and Compressor B. The heat exchanger that Employees #1 and #2 were to clean out was connected to Compressor B. Compressor B was off and Compressor A was running. Employees #1 and #2 incorrectly assumed that since compressor B was not running, it had already been isolated from Compressor A by a closed valve. However, the valve between compressor A and B was in the "open" position. Employee #2 began removing a plug on the Compressor B heat exchanger, with a pneumatic impact gun, while Employee #1 was standing directly behind him. When the heat exchanger plug was removed, the pressurized natural gas came out of the 0.5-inch plug opening and blew Employees #2 and #1 back. The natural gas did not ignite. Employee #1 was rendered unconscious from the impact. Employee #2 initiated emergency shutdown of the natural gas system and notified other employees about the emergency. An ambulance was called, but neither employee was hospitalized. 


April 19, 2021

Employee dies after falling into sulphuric acid tank

 At 12:30 a.m. on February 9, 2019, an employee was reaching into a steel pickling tank containing 160 degree Fahrenheit sulfuric acid in order to retrieve a sample of the solution with a hand held plastic syringe.The employee stepped onto the ledge of Pickle Tank #5, used his right hand to reach into the tank to pull the sample while simultaneously holding on to an adjacent hand railing for stability and balance with his left hand. The employee fell into the tank and was submerged. The employee remained in the tank for approximately 1 minute before being recued. He suffered from chemical and thermal burns that resulted in his death. 

Source: osha.gov

April 15, 2021

Why checking the line up before admitting chemicals is important

 At 8:00 a.m. on March 13, 2019, an employee was working for a manufacturer of basic organic chemicals. He was opening a valve to permit the flow of hexamethylenediamine (HMD). The valve had been actuated to rinse and purge feed lines. It had been left open by the previous shift. The employee forgot to check valve positions before opening the HMD flow valve. He was sprayed with HMD, and he suffered second-degree burns to his groin. He was hospitalized.