Drum Explodes During Welding, Killing Worker

Drum Explodes During Welding, Killing Worker


It doesn’t take much. Only about a tablespoon of acetone evaporated inside a 44-gallon drum creates enough vapour to make it explosive. At this kayak manufacturing shop, welding on an empty acetone drum cost a fibreglass worker his life. This is what happened. A worker wanted to make a shop cart from this
empty acetone drum. The fibreglass worker offered to weld casters
onto the drum for him. To prepare the drum for welding, the worker rinsed out the drum with water and turned it upside down to drain. He replaced the lid’s bung caps, then used
a grinder to clean four areas for the welds. The fibreglass worker started to weld, but
had trouble. He asked the shop’s owner to check the
welder’s settings. The owner performed a test weld on the lid. He adjusted the welder’s settings, and gave
the welding gun back. The fibreglass worker then attempted to weld on a caster by making a tack weld. As he began a second weld, the welding arc burned through the lid. Acetone vapour inside the drum ignited, exploding and throwing the worker across the room. He would later die from his injuries. Lab testing of the fluid remaining in the
drum showed that the drum, even though it had been rinsed, contained enough residual acetone to become explosive. Choosing to reuse a drum that once held flammable substances can be a big mistake. Time and again workers have welded or used torches to cut drums, often with lethal consequences. Welding, cutting, and grinding are
examples of hot work – work that
can initiate fires or explosions. If you can, avoid hot work on drums. If you must go ahead: Do a risk assessment to identify any potential dangers. With the acetone drum, this would have included checking the precautions in the MSDS for acetone. The MSDS, as well as a label on the drum, warned against welding on or near the drum. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for
flammable substances. Don’t weld or do any other hot work if the
instructions say not to. If the instructions allow hot work, set up
safe work procedures such as how to clean the drum and how to test for residues. Train and supervise workers in the procedures,
so that they know the risks and the precautions. Learn from the tragedy that occurred in this workplace. Before welding, cutting, or grinding on a drum, know what’s been inside it and whether it’s a danger.

100 Replies to “Drum Explodes During Welding, Killing Worker”

  1. I am so glad I watched this video because I do consider myself a safety conscious person yet preparing the drum by rinsing it out like they did is probably what I would do. Except I can see myself rinsing but also washing first with something like Dawn or Awesome cleaner before rinsing. Still, who knows if that would be enough to avoid an explosion such at this.
    The obvious answer is not to take any chances and not even consider using the drum unless someone who knows more than me about the subject could confirm it would be ok to weld on. But even then after watching this video … I’m gonna n shock that such a small amount of acetone could create an explosion like that. Amazing and very unfortunate.

  2. I always run a hose from a gas engine vehicle's exhaust into the container making sure there is an exit for the expelled gases, the carbon monoxide from the gasoline engine's exhaust will expell any oxygen from the container which robs any fuel's oxygen preventing it from igniting.

  3. Many suggestions about using car exhaust to purge tanks… I have seen at night a car exhaust pipe that emitted small sparks that weren't visible in the daylight. Theoretically that would seem a concern as the exhaust itself, on rare occasion, might ignite the tank. My thought anyway.

  4. Welding and cutting on anything with flammables in it is dangerous you have to keep oxygen away from it you fill it up with water or you hook up a system where you put carbon dioxide in it

  5. That is why you backpurge with inert gases people or pack with with several pounds of dry ice or just quit being cheap cause most time its not worth the risk to save a couple bucks.

  6. My father owned a small sanitation company in the 70's. It picked up a dumpster from a chemical plant. Though the plant had a different way of disposing of their drums the occasional drum ended up in the dumpster and went to my father's landfill. A couple of guys went to the landfill, brought away a drum and took it to a trailer park. They were cutting on it with a torch when it exploded and a piece of it flew over and cut off the foot of a little boy who was playing nearby. My father was named in the lawsuit.

  7. This guy was not a welder he could not set the welding plant.Had he been a tradesman he would know about safety.Very sad story.

  8. Supervisor should be sued and criminal charges press, so tired of stupid ignorant supervisors, seek more lawsuits have less workers injured or worst.

  9. any of them can be CUT with a torch- even empty propane & natural gas tanks- you just have to know how to do it. Problem is people are LAZY and do not want to take the time or work it takes to do it. I have cut open with a torch MANY MANY propane and natural gas tanks with ZERO problems. You fill the tank ALL the way up with water– then start cutting- the water forces all the fumes and liquids out& the torch cuts right thru it- once thats done just cut away

  10. Rolled seams on drums hold much more fluid than you would imagine and unfortunately sometimes there is enough to cause fatal explosions. I believe the seams are the main contributor to these, so called prewashed tanks explosions. Ive seen " cleaned and washed" diesal tanks go off like a bomb. White misty vapour means its too late with diesel tanks and most other elements still in the rolled seams of tanks. Very dangerous and not very well know with lack of education about this subject. Be safe and well.
    Bob.Australia

  11. I've welded, brazed or torched fuel tanks many of times, without incident…
    You need to flush the container, then fill it with water.
    And most of all, if you don't know how to correctly adjust a welder, then you shouldn't be playing MacGyver.
    Lesson learned!

  12. Thing is more often than not there is no reason to "hot work" a metal drum. The additional cost of a commercialy produced productthat will do the same job is an inexpensive short term insurance policy

  13. Seen a cars fuel tank do the same thing. Fortunately the guy wasn't killed although blew him into the parking lot. A real bad day at work.

  14. This same thing happened to one of the men I worked with at Wiley Post Airport in OKC… he survived but only because he was very lucky.

  15. Heating the metal will release fumes, as usual BC is so far behind they think they are first. Has been common knowledge for probable as long as there has been metal drums. We all know you cant fix stupid tho.

  16. Every tank welder knows to put dry ice into the tank they are welding on.Mig welding took the trade out of welding.If you can write your name you can run a bead with a mig welder but that doesn't make you a welder.

  17. Never weld drums because you don't know what it once contained & you cannot realise on the second person account period.

  18. Tanks I carry they always want to know "what was the prior substance " . It it was water , or non flambles then fine ,but if the priors we're flambles then the tanks are treated more cautiously and no hot work on them .

  19. We put a propane torch on a drum that had gas in it once and it went three hundred feet in the air came down on the roof.

  20. I know someone tried to cut a drum containing flammable vapour with a grinder
    It blew up and broke his ankle
    Guess he was lucky not to be
    Killed?

  21. I welded my gas tank. Yeah I washed it out, but also FILLED THE TANK WITH AN INERT GAS ( ARGON )…. But I did witness my friend checking on his ATC gas tank "fuel level" with his lighter at night, LOL! Didn't EXPLODE, but made a great sound as a massive cannon of fire shot up like a 4 foot blow torch! Sounded like the devil was playing the JUG!…

  22. I worked for a welding shop that rebuilt and replaced baffles on gas tankers it was my job to cut out the parts that needed to be repaired it had me puckering every time I lit the torches and made the first cuts. A month after I left the owner blew himself and the end of the tanker out of the shop threw a cement wall

  23. You can do this but make sure the tank is vented!!!! It might make a small fire but won’t explode!

  24. Even open I know of people putting dry ice inside to push out fumes before even hauling static will blow the fumes

  25. Never weld or use a cutting torch with a cigarette lighter in your shirt pocket ,coat pocket or pants pocket ….several people have died from a cigarette lighter explosion. The explosion is like a small stick of tnt , it will kill. Hate the man died over this.

  26. Acetone, nail polish 💅 remover! I didn’t know it was so explosive . I’m surprised I haven’t heard of more accidents involving it.

  27. This happened to man near by a few years ago. It was a closed coffin funeral. I heard that they did not find all of him.

  28. I had a teacher that had the same thing happen to his brother n- law just as he was about to go on vacation. The berrel he used had a bit more in it. Many things can kill you in this world if you let your guard down just for a second. So use that thing sitin on your shoulders that's what it's for people.stay safe fellers

  29. Very sad… Likely the same thing happened next to our company at Pune, when I was working there in 1979… but that welder escaped with serious injuries…!!! Anyway this video is a warning to those who are engaged in such type of welding works…!!!

  30. First of all, the guy was stupid for putting the caps back on… That is what caused the drum to Explode. Pressure is like Electricity – It takes the path of Least resistance. If you must weld a drum that contained flammables, Wash it out, and once dry, remove the caps,
    and push a lit piece of paper near the container's mouth with a broom or something… lol.

  31. I well remember my uncle who was an amateur welder, telling about this professional welder. He was cutting an old engine up for scrape. Unfortunately one cylinder had gasoline still in it. when the cutting torch hit that cylinder the engine exploded taking the top of the welders head off. Like they said in the video, don't weld, grind or even touch anything that might have flammable liquids in it.

  32. Even tho the label says keep fire and welding away etc etc that would be taken by most everyone to mean on a drum that has material in it- a full or half full drum, but this was an empty drum and it was rinsed out with water. Hard to imagine any acetone could have been left, the stuff evaporates so FAST it chills!

  33. Plus he sealed off the drum allowing pressure to build up, he should have welded the wheels to the top then put it back on after .This guy was a rookie i feel bad for his family.

  34. Here is the secret. Fill the drum with water all the way to the top…then weld. No air inside makes an explosion impossible.
    One more approved method. Put a box of baking soda and a bottle of vinegar in the barrel. leave the cap off. Wait 5 minutes. The barrel will fill with CO2, and all oxygen will be pushed out. CO2 is heavier than oxygen… Weld with the cap off.

  35. Why not just create a circular trolley with wheels on it, then it can be used on multiple drums. Also why be a slave and work for someone else. They just use and abuse you. Corporations dont give a shit about anything apart from the bottom line. labourers are expendable.

  36. Hummmmmmmm lets see one can either just not weld on a sealed container that held substances capable of flame and explosion or they can chose to open that sucker up and air it out for a few weeks in a good dry heated climate to evap all the chemical residue off of it. That's the only two safe options really. You can't wash out substances that are not water soluble with soap and water or plain water it always leaves residue in there

  37. If I ever do something of an absent mind and it gets me killed i a funny yet entertaining way for everyone else to watch I want you all to know I fully endorse and hold up the rights of the people to have a good old laugh at my expense being that it was probably my time anyway……………..chances are you only get 1-2 mistakes like this before you get killed anyway so once my mind goes to a point I can't recall basic fire safety rules I don't wanna be around for something even worse and harder to recall like MIXER SAFETY inside the cookie dough mixer room with the giant spatula mixing machine of death. I once heard a story of a man that purposely took the guards off the top of a Auger shaft coal transport Auger train …………..basically they are a long screw like device surrounded by a series of closed metal doors to transport coal or grain up to a container and they can be long and complex as you want them to be. He did this to climb inside and do some repair welding to the Auger Teeth that had broken off mid way down. We are talking like 48" inch or similar diameter Auger here to………..he climbed inside and started his work in a position from which he could not be seen from the outside unless above him. He had not told anyone, or logged out the power, or tagged jack shit out! Few moments later a Jr. Employee who's job I do not know seen the Auger not running so product was not going into the container bin or bins so he decided to turn on the machine…………………Poor man inside would have began to slowly feel the rotation of the shaft as it powered up cause these things are fairly slow and I'm sure he tried to get out as the panels were open at the top but the Auger managed to grab the Welding leads, tangle him in them, pull him into the closed section above him in the train of operation and slowly but surly grind the man into tiny itsy bitsy chunks to be deposited into the bin above

  38. I have one I'm gonna cut with a grinder… I'm thinking I'll rinse a few times with dish soap and water then fill it with water while I grind it. Any suggestions?

  39. Wash the container out with water and dish soap, purple power, or simple green. Some kind of industrial cleaner and degreaser. Rinse it out until you smell no vapors at all, may have to wash 2× or more.
    Lastly always vent never weld on a container that is sealed completely.

  40. I found a drum in the woods. I decided to make a burn barrel and went to grinding the top off. I couldn't smell anything and there wasn't one drop of anything in it. It still blew out on me. The top and bottom rounded out. Gave me one he'll of a scare. I have no idea what it once held.

  41. To do this safely. Rinse the drum. Air purge the drum with some kind of compressed air, or fan for at least one hour. DO NOT SEAL the drum. If the drum is dry after purging and does not smell of solvent, it's probably safe to weld on, but so so outside…

  42. 1995: AURORA, CO, OSHA SAFETY TRAINING, MR. MARK MUMBY AS TRAINER. DO NOT WELD OR DO HOT WORK AROUND EMPTY DRUMS. A worker used a drum as a chair as he welded items on a bench. He let his hand off the work and moved around to the edge of the drum, the welding tip struck the drum, punctured it, ignited it, and launched the worker off, killing him in the process.

  43. Thank you for making this video. In 2016 I held a barrel steady while my neighbor began to cut it. My body took the brunt of the explosion ripping open my abdomen breaking rib cage and taking my spleen, half my liver and feet of intestines. I nearly lost both legs. I'm alive today thanks to the quick response of all the first responders and the great care I received at UAB burn center in Alabama. The barrel was empty but contained fumes from leftover ZEP window washer fluid. I am sorry for your loss.

  44. About 1978, I was welding rope loops on 6, 55 gallon drumbs to lift a sunken Owens cabin cruiser, on the last loop on the 6th drumb, I burned though , I saw a 1 inch little flame shoot out, I knew it was going to blow, i through the stinger and dove for the ground, the explosion was so loud, I never heard it, but people 4 blocks away did, as I laid on the ground my right leg was in such pain, I thought I lost my leg, i was in such pain, as I looked to see if my leg was still there, it WAS, I limped for 5 years, had constant pain, the whole 5 years, I got a shot of Cortazone the swelling went down I could sleep after the shot of Cortazone as the 24 hr never ending pain finally stopped, then I went to work for a company that specializes in removing large underground leaking tanks, a little late, but now I know how to do it the correct way 😆😆

  45. It doesn't matter how many times u wash out a used drumb once it had certain flamables, as not only do the seams hold traces but the pores hold traces that come out when the metal gets hot enough, turns into an explosive gas, i have welded tanks and drums since, but only when filled with water, or co2,

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