Mechanic using welder fatally burned when washer fluid drum explodes

Original article published by Safety+Health

19ma058-8.jpg

Case report: 19MA058
Issued by: Massachusetts State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of report: July 15, 2022

A 64-year-old automotive mechanic was working to remove the fuel pump from a car at his employer’s service garage. To accomplish the task, he was constructing a special tool using an oil filter wrench and other metal. The mechanic set up a temporary welding station on top of a 55-gallon steel drum that contained window washer fluid concentrate. The drum was nearly empty and had two bung holes in the lid. A co-worker held the work piece in position by extending his arm. To assemble the tool, the mechanic made a spot weld and was about to make another when the drum exploded and the top blew off. His co-worker, who suffered facial trauma and a burned arm, fled the garage as washer fluid vapors ignited and the fire began to spread. The mechanic was covered in burning fluid and was on the floor of the garage, underneath one of the vehicles. Other workers heard the explosion and gathered outside. Realizing the mechanic was still in the garage, they reentered the building to drag him out and used fire extinguishers to try to put out the flames on his body. His clothing eventually burned and was torn away to fully extinguish the flames on his body. Several people in the area heard the explosion and called 911. First responders arrived at the scene. The mechanic was treated at the scene and driven by ambulance to a nearby airport, then flown by helicopter to a regional Level I trauma center. He died six weeks later.

To help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:

  • Provide an appropriate location to perform welding work. Hot work should take place a safe distance from flammable and combustible liquids.
  • Ensure workers using welding equipment are trained in the safe operation of their equipment.
  • Ensure all workers are educated on hazardous materials in the workplace.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive safety and health program.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

US Department of Labor issues stronger workplace guidance on coronavirus

First published by OSHA

New OSHA guidance seeks to mitigate, prevent viral spread in the workplace

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers implement a coronavirus prevention program and better identify risks which could lead to exposure and contraction. Last week, President Biden directed OSHA to release clear guidance for employers to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure.

Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” provides updated guidance and recommendations, and outlines existing safety and health standards. OSHA is providing the recommendations to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

“More than 400,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions of people are out of work as a result of this crisis. Employers and workers can help our nation fight and overcome this deadly pandemic by committing themselves to making their workplaces as safe as possible,” said Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor M. Patricia Smith. “The recommendations in OSHA’s updated guidance will help us defeat the virus, strengthen our economy and bring an end to the staggering human and economic toll that the coronavirus has taken on our nation.”

Implementing a coronavirus prevention program is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the virus. The guidance announced today recommends several essential elements in a prevention program:

  • Conduct a hazard assessment.
  • Identify control measures to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Adopt policies for employee absences that don’t punish workers as a way to encourage potentially infected workers to remain home.
  • Ensure that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English and non-English speaking workers.
  • Implement protections from retaliation for workers who raise coronavirus-related concerns.

“OSHA is updating its guidance to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus and improve worker protections so businesses can operate safely and employees can stay safe and working,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick.

The guidance details key measures for limiting coronavirus’s spread, including ensuring infected or potentially infected people are not in the workplace, implementing and following physical distancing protocols and using surgical masks or cloth face coverings. It also provides guidance on use of personal protective equipment, improving ventilation, good hygiene and routine cleaning.

OSHA will update today’s guidance as developments in science, best practices and standards warrant.

This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of existing mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content and are intended to assist employers in recognizing and abating hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm as part of their obligation to provide a safe and healthful workplace.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Interim Guidance for Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19

 

To ensure continuity of essential function operations, CDC indicates that critical infrastructure workers may be allowed to continue working in the face of potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are in place to protect and protect them to the community.

Potential exposure means being a household contact or having close contact (up to 6 feet away) with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case. The period to have contact with a person includes a lapse of 48 hours before the onset of symptoms.

Critical infrastructure workers who have been exposed but remain asymptomatic should implement the following before and during work shifts:

  • Pre-assessment: Employers should monitor temperature and assess employee symptoms before they begin work. The ideal would be to control the temperature before the person enters the establishment.
  • Regular Monitoring: As long as employees do not have a fever or other symptoms, they should monitor themselves under the supervision of the employer’s occupational health program.
  • Mask use: The employee should wear a mask at all times in the workplace for 14 days after the last exposure. Employers can provide masks or authorize the use of cloth face covers for employees in the event of a shortage of supplies.
  • Social distance: The employee should maintain a distance of 6 feet and implement social distance, as long as the tasks performed in the workplace allow it.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of work areas: regularly clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, and electronic equipment for shared use.

If the employee becomes ill during the day, they should send him home immediately . Surfaces in your work area should be cleaned and disinfected . Information should be collected on people who were in contact with the sick employee during the time he had symptoms and 2 days prior to the onset of symptoms. They should be considered exposed to other persons in the establishment who had close contact up to 6 feet from the employee during that time.

Employers should implement the recommendations in the Interim Guide for Business and Employers on Planning and Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 to help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Find more information on how to identify critical infrastructure during COVID-19 on the DHS CISA website external site icon or on the CDC Specific Guide page for emergency response personnel.

INTERIM GUIDE

This interim guide is for critical infrastructure workers, including staff in 16 different job sectors, such as:

  • Local, State, and Federal Public Safety
  • 911 call center employees
  • Fusion Center Employees
  • Private sector and government hazardous materials response personnel
  • Custodial staff and other custodial staff
  • Workers, including contract providers, in the food and agriculture, critical manufacturing, computing, transportation, energy, and government facilities
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
  • Employees should not share headphones or other objects that are close to the mouth or nose.
  • Employers should increase the frequency with which commonly touched surfaces are cleaned.
  • Employees and employers should consider piloting the use of face masks to ensure that it does not affect assigned tasks.
  • Employers should coordinate with facility maintenance personnel to ventilate workplaces more frequently.
  • Employees should keep their distance when they take a break all together. It is necessary to take staggered breaks, avoid congregations in the rest area and not