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Explosion Kills Two Workers at VA Hospital


By Dan Hounsell Emergency Preparedness
VA Hospital Connecticut
NBC Connecticut

From roof repairs to lobby ceiling relamping to electrical system checks, daily maintenance activities can create tremendous risks for front-line technicians. While technicians and managers know and understand these risks and take steps to avoid injury, facility systems and equipment occasionally provide reminders of the level of danger maintenance work can present.

Two workers were killed in an explosion recently while repairing a steam pipe in a maintenance building at a Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital in Connecticut, officials said. Alfred Montoya Jr., director of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, said the men were in the basement of the small outer building and had just finished routine maintenance on a leaky pipe, according to the Associated Press. He said the explosion occurred just after 8 a.m. as the pipe was being refilled with steam.

Police, the FBI, the VA and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration were investigating the accident, and the cause of the explosion had not been determined late last week, officials said. The explosion occurred in a building that houses the hospital’s labor shops, such as carpentry and plumbing, a spokesperson for the hospital said.

Dan Hounsell is editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

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