The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is already investigating the industrial accident that occurred yesterday morning at a Pennsylvania energy plant. A tragic tanker truck explosion left one worker dead and another injured.
The two workers were employed by West Penn Energy Services, a company that provides water hauling and pumping (among other support services) to the oil and gas industry. The explosion occurred at the company's district operations plant in Plum Creek Township, about 50 miles from Pittsburgh.
According to West Penn Energy Vice President Andrew Iessihe, the men were using a propane torch to "thaw a valve" on an empty water tanker parked outside of the plant. As they attempted to unfreeze a pipe fitting on the water truck, an explosion occurred - causing an inspection manhole plate to fly off the truck, striking both men.
The explosion was felt by nearby home and business owners. The blast was so strong that one employee thought something had hit the building.
Unsure of the exact cause of the explosion, the company is currently investigating if something other than water was being hauled in the tanker truck that could have left dangerous vapors. OSHA is also looking to any potential workplace violations or unsafe practices that could have contributed to the industrial accident.
Once the investigation is complete, compensation may be available to the injured worker and family of the deceased employee through workers' compensation or other third-party claims.
According to Pittsburgh's Team4, the company has no previous OSHA violations or lawsuits.
Sources: Explosion Kills 26-Year-Old Worker At West Penn Energy; Tanker truck explosion kills Ford City man