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Gas leak cause of body shop explosion

Posted on by SST

For many businesses, a combustible gas leak detector can help prevent accidents and possible injury to employees and customers. Gas has the potential to cause an explosion or other accident but a gas leak may not always be detectable by employees. Having the necessary safety equipment in place will help workers and company operators identify when hazardous conditions are present can help businesses reduce worker injury.

A gas leak was the cause of an explosion at an auto body shop in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. According to the Boston Globe, the explosion occurred February 5 at the Victory Auto Supply-Speed Shop. No one was injured in the accidental explosion but several buildings nearby suffered serious damage. Approximately one dozen people were displaced as a result, the Globe reported.

Four buildings, including the body shop, were deemed unsafe while surrounding buildings in the area dealt with shattered glass and blown-out windows due to the explosion, according to the Globe.

Fox Boston said the Fitchburg Fire and Police Departments and the State Fire Marshall conducted investigations into the cause of the explosion. A fire official said a natural gas pipeline failure at a nearby intersection caused the explosion. The gas traveled underground and met with an ignition source at the auto body shop, the article stated. The Department of Public Utilities in Massachusetts is conducting its own investigation into the cause of the explosion.

OSHA's regulations for auto body shops
Maintaining worker protection will not only prevent worker injury but can prevent investigations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and potential safety violations and citations.

OSHA sets regulations for auto body shops to follow in order to protect employees and prevent explosions or other accidents. Employers are required to abide by the regulations set by OSHA or adopt specific standards through an OSHA-approved state plan.

According to OSHA, hazards present in an auto body shop work environment include paints, fillers and solvents, dusts and other airborne objects and chemicals including hexavalent chromium from spray paint. Employers are also responsible for educating and training employees on the dangers of hazardous materials and how to properly work with them.

Not taking proper precaution with combustible residues is often a reason for OSHA issuing safety violations. According to the federal agency, locations containing combustible residue must receive approval if a workplace has deposits of readily ignitable residue and explosive vapors. Electrical equipment that can lead to an ignition or explosion are also prohibited in a spraying area with combustible residue.

Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection systems.

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