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Three Workers Burned at Boston Waste Water Treatment Plant

Yesterday was a bad day for workers at Boston's Deer Island wastewater treatment facility. Three workers suffered burns in two separate accidents.

A pocket of methane gas exploded late yesterday morning while contract workers were busy cleaning pipes in one of the buildings were sewage is treated. Two workers, employed by a private contractor, suffered second-degree burns to their faces and necks in the explosion.

Jonathan Yeo, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), said the unit, known as Modular 3, was shut down for routine maintenance at the time. OSHA's Boston office, along with MWRA and the Boston Fire Department, is investigating the explosion.

A fire department spokesman said the air in the building was still potentially explosive when firefighters arrived, and the building was evacuated.

Later in the day, an MWRA employee, working in another part of the facility touched live electrical equipment, suffering burns to her hands. She was treated and released from Massachusetts General Hospital. OSHA will not investigate that incident, because the woman is a state employee and OSHA has no jurisdiction in that case.

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