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Around noon on a Tuesday, January 19, a group of elementary school children entered their cafeteria. As they sat talking, eating their lunches and enjoying their time away from the classroom; none of them knew what was about to happen. At 13 minutes past noon their world was changed forever. Because at that time the 80 gal water heater located in kitchen of the cafeteria blew up. The explosion blew the concrete block wall toward the children hitting some with full force. As a result; six children and one teacher died. In addition; over forty children and teachers were injured.
The subsequent investigation revealed there were several actions that caused the explosion. At 7:30 a.m.; the maintenance department responded to a call from the school to report water heater problems. The technician installed a used gas valve. Unknown to the technician; the used gas valve was also bad. The heater also had a faulty pressure/temperature safety valve. As the heater continued to fire; the pressure and temperature increased, and soon passed 212 degrees F. Since the safety valve was faulty; the pressure and temperature rose inside of the heater until the maximum rating of the pressure vessel was exceeded and exploded. The water then expanded 1600 times its regular volume instantaneously. Thus blowing the building apart and reaching out to kill or injure the innocent children.
There were two major activities that would have prevented this accident:
1.) Effective training of the maintenance technicians to recognize safety hazards and how to properly repair the heater.
2.) Furnish and install the proper temperature/pressure relief valve in a timely manner.
Every company should provide proper and effective training of their personnel to ensure accidents do not happen. For more information on related safety and industrial skills training call (800) 922-2820 or Contact NTT Training today!
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