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    OXYGEN CYLINDER “FIRED” INTO WORKSHOP

    Violent discharge of gas bottle seriously injured two engineers

    An engineering company has been sentenced after two employees were seriously injured during work to dispose of old gas cylinders at the company site in Hull in January 2017.

    Beverley Magistrates heard how the defendant company was engaged to decommission approximately eight or nine gas cylinders believed to contain oxygen. The cylinders were laid outside in the premises in the yard with the pressure release valves open to empty any gas remaining in the cylinders.

    At a later stage the employee removed the pressure release valves from the tops of the cylinders. When he worked on the last cylinder it became apparent that the valve was ‘stuck’ and could not be removed.

    A fellow employee came to his assistance and they began to dislodge and remove the valve using a hammer. It was during this work that the cylinder and valve separated violently as gas which remained in the cylinder was released.

    Risk not assessed and safe system not implemented

    The cylinder “fired into the workshop” and struck two employees who were standing inside. The employees suffered serious injuries to their lower limbs requiring multiple surgeries and spent several weeks in hospital. One of the injured workmen has not been able to return to work.

    HSE investigators found there was no safe system of work in place for the decommissioning and disposal of old gas cylinders and the company had not carried out a suitable risk assessment to identify the associated risks.

    • Redhall Engineering Services Ltd – of Winestead Lane, Hull pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,687.00.

    Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector James Harvey said:

    “This case highlights the serious risks posed by gas cylinders and how the correct disposal as well as cylinder handling and storage is fundamental to ensuring safety.”

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