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Workers seriously burned in flash fire

Date of incident: August 2013
Notice of incident number: 2013155270108
Employer: Company that installs decking material

Incident summary
Two workers were resurfacing the deck of a unit in a condominium complex. One worker was applying the adhesive to the deck, preparing it for the vinyl sheet, while a second worker was using a hot-air blower in a corner, welding a section of vinyl that had already been laid down. The adhesive's fumes ignited, severely burning both workers.

Investigation conclusions
Cause

  • Workers injured when flammable vapours ignited: An experienced worker was using a hot-air blower to weld vinyl decking, while a second worker was applying adhesive nearby. When the flammable vapours from the adhesive ignited, the two workers were seriously burned.

Underlying factors

  • Failure to follow safe work procedures: The experienced worker failed to follow safe work procedures as provided by the manufacturer on the can of adhesive. He was aware that flammable vapours were present yet proceeded to weld without allowing time for the vapours to clear.
  • Inadequate training: The informal training provided by the company relied on experienced workers to address safe work procedures and hazards. The company did not have training standards and did not provide a consistent level of training. In this incident, the experienced worker was considered a trainer yet he did not follow safe work procedures.
  • Inadequate supervision: The company's workers were generally left unsupervised at a workplace.
  • Lack of health and safety program: The lack of a health and safety program allowed inconsistent work procedures to develop. The company failed to provide its workers with the necessary information, instruction, training, and supervision to protect their health and safety. Specifically, it did not provide its workers with any written safe work procedures for their work.

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Publication Date: Aug 2013 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2013155270108