Firm blamed for explosion fatality

A man lost his life as a result of safety failings, it has been found.During a recent hearing at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court, Oak Farm Gas Company,trading as Mr Fizz,pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws.

The case highlights the importance of effective risk assessments, health and safety training courses and other such things.In June 2009, 21-year-old Kerry Daly was performing his role filling empty gas cylinders with varying types of pure and mixed gas. The cylinders were normally brought to the workshop from customers’ premises.

On the 19th of the month, driver Maurice Kelly brought a gas cylinder from a pub in east London. Because the valve fittings on the cylinder did not match the ones of the high pressure filling station, Mr Daly rang a colleague for advice.

He was told not to fill the cylinder but he still attempted to do so and, in the process, the item exploded. The worker was seriously injured and later died as a result of the accident. Meanwhile, Mr Kelly had his leg amputated below the knee and suffered permanent damage to both hands.

According to an investigation launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which exists to protect people from risks that arise to their wellbeing as a result of workplace activity, found the equipment used at Mr Fizz’s workshop was unsuitable for filling a low pressure cylinder.
Meanwhile, his training consisted solely of verbal instruction and there was no documentation of this, nor of any written risk assessments.Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Will Pascoe said: “This incident was completely preventable. If sufficient training and instruction had been given then Kerry Daly’s death would not have happened and Maurice Kelly would not have suffered life-changing injuries.”

If effective risk assessments had been used and proper health and safety training courses had been undertaken, Mr Daly and Mr Kelly may not have suffered such injuries.

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