Construction materials

One dead and one seriously injured in explosion at building materials factory in Hampshire – Cardinal News


Hampshire firefighters inspect the structure of the warehouse after an explosion inside (SOURCE: Hampshire Fire Protection District).

Hampshire Police, Fire and Paramedics responded at around 10.45am on Friday January 21, 2022 to a report of an explosion in the ‘P building’ of the WR Meadows Inc. manufacturing complex, 300 Industrial Drive in Hampshire. The first Hampshire fire units arrived within three minutes and initially discovered the building had suffered significant damage. The building’s fire suppression system activated automatically and extinguished the fire before firefighters arrived. There was no active fire.

There were two employees in the part of the building where the explosion occurred. One patient was pronounced dead at the scene, and another patient was extracted and transported to Sherman Hospital in Elgin. The patient was then transferred by medical transport helicopter to a hospital in Rockford.

The rest of the building was searched and no other victims were found inside, and no other injuries were reported, according to Hampshire Fire Chief Trevor Herrmann. An initial investigation determined that an accidental explosion occurred, caused by an electrical event in an explosive vapor atmosphere.

A southern wall in the southeast corner of the building was blown away. The steel wall and some structural materials were visible as debris on the ground outside the building, and two white vertical tanks were visible inside the building.

Mutual Aid Fire Departments responded from Burlington, Pingree Grove, Huntley, Fox River, Marengo, Genoa, Sycamore and Elburn.

Fire investigators were joined by the Kane County Task Force, the Illinois State Fire Marshal and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Initial reports indicated that two people were seriously injured. The two injured were employees.

The Kane County Sheriff’s Mobile Command Center and the Kane County Coroner also responded to the scene. Hampshire Police were joined by the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, the Hampshire Building Department (SafeBuilt Inc.) and the Kane County Office of Emergency Management.

Hampshire firefighters inspect the structure of the warehouse after an explosion inside (SOURCE: Hampshire Fire Protection District).

According to the company’s website, WR Meadows manufactures flashing membranes, air barriers, waterproofing, vapor barriers and other concrete-related products for the construction industry. The company was founded in Elgin in 1926 and now has headquarters and a factory in Hampshire, Illinois, and locations in Arizona; California; Georgia; Pennsylvania; Texas; Alberta, Canada; and Ontario, Canada.

The company has complete Safety Data Sheet (SDS) information on its official website, which includes several hazardous materials and flammable materials located on site that must be isolated from ignition sources. SDS information follows OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards.

Flammable chemicals on site during manufacture include acetone, benzene, light aromatic solvent naphtha, mineral spirits (turpentine), and xylene.

There were no known hazardous materials beyond the WR Meadows property. According to NWS data at De Kalb Taylor Municipal Airport, the wind was from the south at 13 MPH and the air temperature was 20°F at 11:35 a.m. The wind was from the south at 12 MPH and the air temperature air was 21°F at 11:55 a.m.

The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)), revised 2012, requires the manufacturer, distributor, or importer of chemicals to provide Safety Data Sheets or Material Safety Data Sheets (formerly MSDS or Material Safety Data Sheets) for each hazardous chemical. downstream users to communicate information on these hazards. The information in the SDS is largely the same as that in the SDS, except that now SDSs must be presented in a user-friendly 16-section format. This sheet provides guidance to help workers who handle hazardous chemicals become familiar with the format and understand the content of SDSs.

The SDS includes information such as…

the properties of each chemical;

physical, sanitary and environmental health risks;

Protective measures;

and safety precautions for handling, storage and transportation of the chemical.

The information contained in the SDS must be in English (although it may also be in other languages). In addition, OSHA requires SDS preparers to provide specific minimum information as detailed in Appendix D of 29 CFR 1910.1200. SDS preparers may also include additional information in various sections.

Sections 1 through 8 contain general information about the chemical, its identification, hazards, composition, safe handling practices, and emergency control measures (eg, firefighting). This information should be useful to those who need to get the information quickly.

Sections 9 through 11 and 16 contain other technical and scientific information, such as physical and chemical properties, stability and reactivity information, toxicological information, exposure control information and other information, including date of preparation or last revision. The SDS should also indicate that no applicable information was found when the preparer cannot find relevant information for a required item.

The SDS must also contain sections 12 through 15, to be consistent with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), but OSHA will not enforce the contents of these sections as they relate to issues dealt with by other agencies.

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See also…
OSHA BRIEF | Hazard Communication Standard: Safety Data Sheets [PDF]

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