Decommissioning a fuel tank led to explosion

HSE reported a case whereby a company that decommissions fuel tanks committed safety failings leading to an employee being burnt while cutting up a disused fuel tank. 

The employee was using a disc cutter to help remove fuel tanks from a former filling station.  A spark ignited the residual fuel vapour and the worker needed to be in intensive care for two days with burns to his face and wrist. 

In this particular case a gas detector had been used but it appeared it wasn’t correctly calibrated and may have given faulty readings. 

HSE suggest cold cutting techniques should have been used instead of a disc cutter.  The owner of the business was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

Published: 17 Mar 2014

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