Dangers of testing for leaks with compressed air

HSE report that a company in Kidderminster used compressed air to check for weld quality on a compressed air tank.  Regrettably the tank exploded leading to a worker losing both legs. 

The use of compressed air is extremely dangerous.  Had water been used, the pressure would have been released instantly without the dangerous propulsion effect.  The blast caused a fire extinguisher to be thrown through a wooden staircase. 

The company was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £15,325 in costs.

Published: 17 Mar 2014

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