Two men burned in explosion at joinery factoryadmin
A second worker with minor burns was treated and discharged yesterday.
The two men were checking a Hocking Street joinery factoryâ€™s dust extraction system at about 11am when the first explosion took place, says Tauranga fire senior station officer Phil Price.
â€œThat shipping container was being used as a hopper to receive sawdust from the big bag tower,â€ says Mr Price.
â€œThey were investigating the fan that was blowing the dust into that container from the bag tower â€“ they thought a piece of wood or something had got stuck in it.”
â€œThey could smell burning. They were investigating that and were just shutting the system down when the container exploded.â€
The explosion injured the two men who were standing nearby. Mount Maunganui St John paramedic Chris Jones says they suffered flashover burns.
He treated a man with burns to his forearms, backs of his hands, face and scalp.
He praised the efforts of the Trayco staff who did a great job continuing to pour water over the menâ€™s burns in the sink, and by pouring a water cooler bottle over the face and scalp of one of the men.
â€œSomebody reported a large fireball rolled out of the front of the container which sounds right to me,â€ says Mr Price.
â€œOn the way there we could see a big cloud of white smoke over the area.â€
The fire service was called when the sprinklers activated. Then they began receiving the 111 calls saying there had been and explosion and people injured.
â€œThat was the first explosion, the big one â€“ then there were three subsequent explosions.
â€œThat container was connected by a big duct back to the bag tower.
â€œThe explosion went up the pipe and has caused three secondary explosions in the bag tower.
â€œFire broke out in there which was contained by the sprinkler system.â€
Obviously a thorough Department of Labour investigation will be carried out at the factory.
Of particular concern from a health and safety perspective is what appears to be a ‘home built’ dust extraction system. Often these clever adaptations can work efficiently and safely. But sometimes they have cut corners regarding hazard minimisation.
If this is the case at this factory it will come out in the investigation.