Hot Cutting Work & Potential Explosion Risks – how aware are you?

Outsource Safety Ltd BlogSafety newsHot Cutting Work & Potential Explosion Risks – how aware are you?
April 16, 2019 Posted by Roger Hart

Scarily many lives have been lost over the years by incorrect use of hot works application. The need to understand how to conduct a dynamic risk assessment when dealing with potentially flammable goods is crucial. Failure to do so can result in a tragic outcome, as occurred in the following case.

Recently a commercial vehicle dealer with 11 branches in the South West, Rygor Commercials, was fined after a workman lost his leg from the knee down following the cutting up of an oil drum which exploded. Magistrates were told how the employee was injured after he used oxy-acetylene gas cutting equipment to cut up empty oil drums. The flame from the equipment ignited following contact with the vapours from the oil drum causing an explosion, resulting in the drum lid hitting the employees lower right leg, causing him to ultimately lose the lower part of his right leg.

Following an HSE investigation it was found that the company failed to provide a safe system of work to dispose of the stockpile of empty oil drums. It was also found to be negligent in providing adequate training in the risks associated with the use of oxy-acetylene gas equipment. As a result, the company were ordered to pay £9671.55 costs and were fined £400,000 for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 5 of the Dangerous Substances and Explosives Atmospheres Regulations 2002.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Nancy Harman said:

“Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers.

If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

Here at Outsource Safety we are able to provide Toolbox talks to cover off appropriate methods of approach to issues such as safe disposal of oil drums and flammable materials in addition to the available support from the HSE guidance notes. We can tailor a policy to cover off your health & safety requirements in the form of a Safety~Net Contract. Communication of risk to the workforce in the form of training is a key focus of the work carried out at Outsource Safety and can avoid and prevent life changing injuries such as the case highlighted above.