April, 2011

This is a repeating event

201108AprAll DayDonaldson Enterprises Explosion 2011Donaldson Enterprises Waipahu (US-HI) Origin: CSB Lessons:Compliance with Standards,Contractor Management,Process KnowledgeIndustry:ExplosivesCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Confined explosionIncident:Explosive decompositionHazard:ExplosiveCause:Training/InstructionImpact:HUMAN (On Site Fatalities)Consequence:1-10 FatalitiesMaterial:Explosives

Summary

On April 8, 2011, at approximately 8:50 am, an explosion and fire occurred at a magazine known as ‘A-21’ located at Waikele Self Storage in Waipahu, Hawaii. Five Donaldson Enterprises, Inc. (DEI) employees were fatally injured and a sixth sustained minor injuries.

DEI, a small unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance company based on the island of Oahu, was using the magazine to store seized contraband fireworks and prepare them for disposal. On the morning of the incident, five DEI personnel were disassembling one-inch contraband firework tubes on a cement loading dock located directly in front of the magazine entrance, while a sixth remained inside the magazine cleaning and organizing . To accomplish the disassembly work, DEI personnel cut into the individual firework tubes by hand using a PVC pipe cutter or knife and separated the individual explosive components contained within each tube, the aerial shells and the black powder (which functions as a lift charge) into cardboard boxes.

According to witness statements, around 8:30 am it began to rain heavily, and the DEI workers quickly moved materials involved in the disassembly process – including tools, chairs, and boxes containing aerial shells, black powder, and partially disassembled firework tubes – to just inside the magazine entrance. While five of the workers remained inside, the project supervisor went outside to the front left corner of the loading dock to make a phone call. While he was on the phone, an explosion occurred inside the magazine, and a fire ensued.

The five individuals located inside the magazine at the time of the incident did not survive. Three DEI employees sustained fatal burn injuries while two succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. The project supervisor sustained minor injuries.

KEY ISSUES:
• HAZARDS OF FIREWORKS DISPOSAL & THE ACCUMULATION OF EXPLOSIVE FIREWORKS COMPONENTS
• LACK OF REGULATIONS & INDUSTRY STANDARDS ADDRESSING FIREWORKS DISPOSAL
• INSUFFICIENT CONTRACTOR SELECTION & OVERSIGHT REQUIREMENTS FOR HAZARDOUS ACTIVITIES

ROOT CAUSES:
1. DEI’s hazard analysis of its fireworks disposal process was insufficient. The company failed to identify key hazards of handling, disassembling, and storing contraband commercial display fireworks, and did not adequately control the identified and evaluated hazards.
2. DEI personnel disposing of the fireworks lacked the training, experience, and knowledge of procedural safeguards for the safe conduct of the fireworks disposal.
3. DEI’s modifications to the fireworks disposal process accumulated substantially large quantities of explosive material in boxes, greatly increasing the potential explosion hazard. This change to the disposal process was not adequately reviewed for safety implications.


Image & AcciMap Credit: CSB


Image credit: CSB

Origin

CSBUS Chemical Safety Board

Time

Fri 8 Apr 2011 - Fri 8 Apr 2011

Location

Donaldson Enterprises

Storage Solution's Waikele Self Storage, 94-990 Pakela St, Waipahu, HI 96797

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