Fatalgram - Ignition /Explosion of Gas
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Type:  Safety Bulletin/Alert

Publisher:  U. S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration

Published As:  Public

Date: 

Topics:  Occupational Safety and Health, Operations, Maintenance, Compressed Gas/Air, Welding/Hot Work - Grinding

On June 18, 2014, a 41-year-old production supervisor with 19 years of mining experience was killed at a sand and gravel mine. The victim and two contract workers were attempting to remove an impeller that was seized onto the threaded shaft of a centrifugal pump. After several failed attempts to unscrew the impeller, heat from a torch was applied to the enclosed hub on the impeller. While applying heat, the hub exploded and metal fragments struck the victim.

Best Practices
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work. Identify and control
    all hazards associated with the work to be performed and use methods to properly
    protect persons.

  • Train all persons to understand the hazards associated with the work being performed.

  • Do not apply heat or open flame where enclosed spaces such as impeller hubs,
    mounted tires, suspension struts, or tanks may be subject to explosion except as
    directed by the manufacturer.

  • Always examine materials before applying heat, cutting, or welding to ensure gases
    from the applied heat can vent.

  • Never apply heat to materials before ensuring that flammables/combustibles/explosive
    materials are not present.

  • Never apply heat to materials where pressure build up is possible.

  • Do not apply heat or open flame where lubricants, oil, or grease are present.

  • Use special tools, provided by the manufacturer, to loosen an impeller on a pump.

  • Refer to the maintenance manual, warning labels on the pump, or contact the
    manufacturer for special safety precautions.

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