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Subject: Re: OOPS.
Name: pbi
Date: 2/12/2006 10:21:46 PM (GMT-7)
IP Address:
In Reply to: OOPS. posted by HalOfBorg

I did not get to that level of meeting death, but I could have died at the spot where I was standing.

A co-worker was setting up compressed air cylinders (regular size, ~3000 psi) and was not able to get a reading on the first stage on the gas regulator when opening the gas cylinder. At that point, the co-worker asked me to see, and I was looking at the gas regulator where the first stage was at zero. At first, I thought that it was an empty cylinder, but the co-worker insisted that it was not. The co-worker opened the regulator and the last thing I remember at that moment was the high shrill of gas charging the system really fast. Two air canisters (Dryrite & carbon black, the weakest point on the system) exploded. I was standing about 3 ft away from the canisters.

Right after the explosion, I notice that I was still standing, however I saw another co-worker holding his eyes and face. I showed the co-worker the showers and sink to wash. He looked at me and stated that my left arm was slashed really deep (nearly to the bone). I went to the door and left a trail of blood on the floor. I sat on the ground and started using direct pressure on my arm. Other workers came to help me with gauze and cotton. At this time, I started to feel the pain of the the other cuts and bruises on my other arm, rib cage, and groin. There were people trying to keep me awake, because I was loosing blood. Within the time the paramedics came, I was blacking out. They gave me oxygen and put me on a gurny to go to the hospital.

The cut on my arm was the worst (full of carbon black and dryrite) and a puncture wound right below the thumb. I had bruises that were so intense that they were like blood blisters (my other arm). I was slashed one side of my rib cage and bruised on the other. My groin was badly bruised (mister winky was within two inches of a direct hit). It took me about a week before most of the bandages came off. It took another 3 months for my left hand to feel somewhat normal. My index finger still has some numbness, but I can use it.

I was extremely lucky. The system was estimated to be pressurized between 1000-1500 psi, whereas the system was only rated at 10-15 psi (50 psi max). The two canisters made a smoke screen that made it look like a fire was in the room. The largest pieces of the canisters were about 3 inches diameter (excluding the caps), however most of everything else was embedded everywhere.

Still to this day, I don't know how I walked out of that room...alive.

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