Importance of marked, ventilated and approved flammable storage containers

Safety Alert Type: 
Other
Location: 
Vancouver, BC
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2013-01-09
Company Name: 
BC Construction Safety Alliance
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

On the morning of Wednesday January 9th, a ‘job box’ was delivered to a crew at a downtown Vancouver construction site. Finding it locked with no key available, the crew decided to use a grinder to cut the lock off the box in order to avoid further delays in starting the work day.

Unknown to them, the box contained hoses for a Tiger Torch and a small propane tank, the valve of which had not been completely closed. The sparks from the grinder caused an explosion that deformed the box and blew the workers back a few feet.

They were assessed by first aid and sent to hospital to be checked out, but luckily neither worker sustained injuries other than singed eyebrows and ringing ears. Had the box been labeled as containing flammable products, a grinder would likely not have been used.

This incident brings to mind the tragic events of December 2011, when a volunteer firefighter was killed in Enderby, B.C. During the ‘mop-up’ phase of a fire that had been brought under control, a shipping container or ‘sea-can’ used as a shed exploded, and one of the doors struck and killed the firefighter. Investigation revealed that the shed contained a collection of gas powered tools whose fuel tanks were partially full, as well as approximately only 1 liter of another flammable liquid. While the fire crews were aware of the small amount of flammables stored inside, no one expected the explosive force that was created when they were super-heated through proximity to the structure fire.

These incidents serve as an important reminder about the hazards and risks of stored flammable substances.

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • ALWAYS use WELL MARKED, VENTILATED, and APPROVED flammable storage containers
  • Do not underestimate the explosive force of even small or residual amounts of flammable gasses or liquids

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

For more information contact: BC Construction Safety Alliance info@bccsa.ca 

File attachments
Importance of marked, ventilated and approved flammable storage containers.pdf
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