Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Science in the front yard

There was a tragic death here in Perth yesterday - not far from my place of work.

A WORKER involved in an explosion at a Welshpool factory this morning has lost his fight for life after suffering severe head injuries in the bizarre incident.

The explosion occurred at Diamond Powder Coaters in Division Street just before 8am this morning when the 28-year-old Sri Lankan tried to get the lid off a drum with an angle grinder.

It is believed that sparks from the tool he was using ignited fumes from solvents in the 44-gallon drum.

The explosion sent the drum lid flying about 30m in the air, Belmont Sergeant Nathan Trenbearth said.

The man was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital but died from his injuries a short time late.

Police are preparing a report for the coroner while they assist Worksafe with investigations into the incident.

The man lived in Rivervale with friends and police were still trying to contact his family.

Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/factory-explosion-in-welshpool/story-e6frg12c-1225962706551

(The article doesn't specifically refer to acetone, but it was mentioned as the chemical on a radio report.)

Anyway, as my family and a friend were sitting around the lounge last night, and I asked the adults if they heard about the accident. Miss 9's ears poked up and she asked what had happened. The conversation went like this:

Miss 9: "What happened?"

Me: "A worker tried to open a drum of acetone with an angle grinder."

Miss 9: "But an angle grinder makes sparks, the drum would have exploded."

Me: "Yes, unfortunately that's what happened."

Miss 7: "Is acetone flammable?" (Yes, she used the word flammable)

Hubby: "Yes, would you like to see how it burns?"

Both girls: "Yes!"

So we all trundle outside with a box of matches and a small amount of acetone to watch it burn.

I was surprised to see how slowly it burns.

I'm thinking that during the school holidays (starting very shortly) the girls will have to do some more experiments with chemicals and fire :) - Properly supervised, of course.


KurtP said...

Everything's better with fire!

But, since you're getting into your summer, it was probably the fumes that exploded the can.

What was he doing with a grinder around flammables anyway?

Old NFO said...

Kurt beat me to it... nominally a 7% solution of vapor is the flash point for an explosion. Sorry to hear of the loss of life, but my question is where was the supervisor who 'should' have known better???

Anonymous said...

Lack of training and understanding the implications of what he was doing.
Still unfortunate.


The Beans said...

Good Lord! This is truly terrible...

...At least Hubby was supervising the experiment...

-Barb the French Bean

DaddyBear said...

It's sad that this worker died, but if Miss 9 learns from the example, then some good comes of it.

Next time have a camera to capture the expression when things go WHOOSH! in the front yard. ;-)

Julie said...

lol DB, i was kicking myself for not having the camera to hand