One contract employee was killed and another was injured in a Nov. 9 accident involving a fluoropolymer storage tank at a plant operated by DuPont Co. in Tonawanda, N.Y.
Rich Folaron, age 57, was performing welding work on the top of an empty 10,000-gallon tank when the top of the tank blew back, killing him instantly. The tank previously had contained slurry-form polyvinyl fluoride used to make DuPont's Tedlar-brand fluoropolymer resins and films but had been empty for two weeks, DuPont officials said.
Bill Freeburg, 50, was on the ground next to the tank at the time and suffered burns to his face. He was taken to a nearby hospital and was expected to be released Nov. 11. Both Folaron and Freeburg were employed by contracting firm Mollenberg-Betz Inc. of Buffalo, N.Y.
Folaron's death was the first in Mollenberg-Betz's history of more than 100 years, a company official said in a Nov. 11 article in the Tonawanda News.
The cause of the accident is under investigation by DuPont and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont said in a statement. They said DuPont has no evidence of a release of hazardous material from the incident. The site was not evacuated, but all employees were accounted for at emergency stations.
The plant's Tedlar operation area has been temporarily taken out of service. The section of the plant that makes Corian-brand cast acrylic is in the process of being restarted, DuPont said.
DuPont employs 700 full-time workers at the Tonawanda plant as well as numerous contractors.