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    OXYGEN PIPE EXPLOSION CAUSED SEVERE BURNS

    Components used containing materials unsuitable for use with oxygen

    Sheffield Forgemasters Engineering Limited (SFEL) has been fined £1,000,000 after an oxygen pipe exploded causing life changing injuries to a 57-year old employee in August 2013.

    Sheffield Crown Court heard that work was carried out by an in-house contractor to fit a valve to an oxygen pipe carrying pure oxygen. The worker was carrying out checks when he heard hissing from the valve and whilst investigating the noise, the pipe and valve erupted in flames.

    The injured person suffered severe third degree burns as a result of this incident. He was initially not expected to survive, having been kept in a coma for several weeks and undergoing several skin grafts.

    Lack of control, training and responsibility for management

    HSE investigators found the oxygen pipe was fitted with contaminated second-hand flanges and butterfly valve, containing materials unsuitable for use with oxygen.

    The court heard that it was foreseeable that work would be undertaken on the oxygen pipelines which ran across the site. However, no action had been taken to take control of this line or to implement training or levels of responsibility for management of such work.

    Sheffield Forgemasters Engineering Limited of Brightside Lane, Sheffield pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £1,000,000 with £58,000.45 costs.

    Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Carol Downes said:

    “This incident could have been avoided if simple checks had been carried out.

    Duty holders should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the require standard.”

     

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