• Near-Miss

People Machine Interface - Torching (Hot Slag/ Spark In Ear)

Incident Date: 06/25/2019

Incident Description:  Torchman cutting a piece of heavy, thick steel. As he was cutting through the steel, a piece of hot substance became airborne and landed directly inside the torchman's ear. Torchman was wearing PPE at the time of the incident.

Employee was sent to hospital where it was determined a foreign substance was attached to his eardrum. Rather than remove the substance and risk tearing his eardrum, he was prescribed some ear drops for pain and follow up appointments were scheduled. At his last follow-up appointment , it was determined that the foreign substance had naturally fallen out of his ear and was no longer present. Fortunately, the employee has reported no loss of hearing, balance, or other symptoms related to this incident.

Corrective action:  Employee was experienced and was wearing PPE (helmet, visor, leather coat, chaps, and gloves) at the time of the incident. It is well known that torching operations involve sparks which can find their way into clothing, boots, etc. While this is likely an extremely rare occurrence, we now require our torchmen to wear "earmuff" style hearing protection.

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