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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Safety: Corrosion
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Safety Alert - Fatality

On Friday, August 25, 2000, a fatality occurred at a workplace.

An employee was using a fire extinguisher to put out a small fire when the extinguisher suddenly exploded resulting in the employees' death from the flying debris.

This fire extinguisher had a plastic or rubber base to protect the bottom. The design resulted in moisture being trapped inside the base that may have prevented corrosion on the bottom of the extinguisher from being detected during inspections. Following the incident, a number of other extinguishers of the same make and type were checked and found to be seriously corroded.

It is possible that extinguishers from other manufacturers have a similar design.

Extinguishers of this type may be widely used in your projects, plants, offices, homes, warehouses, maintenance shops, etc. If your fire extinguishers have plastic or rubber bases, it is recommended that these be removed and each fire extinguisher carefully inspected by a Competent Person immediately.

Please see the attached photographs

extinguisher1.gif (160750 bytes)

extinguisher2.gif (118218 bytes)

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Last Modified: 3/12/2010
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