A Fallon refinery was cited for a Dec. 9 explosion that resulted in injuries to one of its employees.
Three citations were issued to Bango Refining carrying penalties of up to $20,790 for violating Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration general industry standards.
According to the state, refinery workers were attempting to restore flow to an asphalt recycle line that had become sluggish due to sub-zero temperatures. Several methods were employed to heat the line including application of plant steam inside the line. The use of a weed burner-style propane tank and torch for direct external heat, a method not prescribed in the company’s standard operating instructions, was also employed, according to the report.
A blast and subsequent fire that rocked Bango critically injured 24-year-old Daniel Snodgrass of Fallon.
“It is suspected that plant steam applied inside the frozen line was redirected into the hot asphalt tank, which created steam pressure in excess of tank design,” the report said. “The result was the dislocation of the asphalt tank-top cover which propelled hot liquid asphalt and other combustible products into the air, raining down on the employee using the torch below. The employee dropped the lit torch, turned, and attempted to run before he slipped and fell forward into the pooling hot asphalt. A fire ensued and all other employees were able to evacuate without injury.”
A comprehensive investigation of the accident was initiated to determine whether there was a violation of Nevada OSHA safety and health standards or the general duty clause, and any effect the violations had on the accident.