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CYLINDER FAILURE CAUSED DEATH OF TESTER

Hire firm engineer died when pressure vessel ‘cracked’ under test

AGD Equipment Limited, a Midlands based construction equipment hire company, has been fined £800,000 after employee Mark Seward (aged 49) died whilst testing a hydraulic cylinder which “cracked under pressure”.

A piece of metal was ejected and struck Mr Seward violently in the head. Warwick Crown Court heard how Mr Seward had been working for AGD Equipment Limited for 16 days when the fatal incident happened.

Safe working pressure not communicated

HSE investigators found the company failed to have adequate supervision in place for this task and failed to inform Mr Seward of the safe working pressure for the cylinder he was testing.

The investigation also found that AGD Equipment Limited also failed to have protective screens in place to prevent projectiles injuring staff. They also did not exclude other people from the test area.

AGD Equipment Limited of Masons Road, Stratford Enterprise Park, Stratford-Upon-Avon pleaded guilty of breaching regulation 12 (1) of the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and regulation 3 (1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The company also pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, was fined 800,000 and ordered to pay costs of £28,711.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Neil Ward said:

“This was a tragic incident that should never have occurred.

It is a company’s obligation to provide a safe system of work for leak testing. This will include protecting people from flying fragments and high pressure oil leaks as well as providing thorough training in how to carry out the work safely”.

 

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