A miner suffered significant burns and will require a lengthy hospitalisation after being burned while lighting a gas-fired kiln – in an alert issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Gas accumulated inside the kiln before the pilot light was inserted through an opening in the hood. When the main burner ignited, the flame spread to the area outside the kiln through the hood opening, catching the worker’s shirt on fire.
MSHA has released best practice guidelines following the incident.
- Wear appropriate flame-protective clothing while igniting kiln fuel burners and pilot lights.
- Close up all openings in the kiln hood that are not required for igniting the main burner.
- Use a pilot light long enough to extend from the tip of the main burner to a safe location outside the kiln.
- Ignite the pilot light before introducing fuel into the kiln through the main burner. Pre-position the pilot light near the tip of the main burner, insert the pilot through a small opening in the kiln hood and secure it in place outside the kiln.
- Open the main fuel valve or start the main fuel feeder supply after the pilot light is in place.
- Observe the fuel flame and adjust the pilot light position from a safe location. A two-person team is recommended so if the main burner fails to light, or snuffs out the pilot flame, the main fuel supply can be promptly shut off to minimize the accumulation of unburned fuel inside the kiln