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Employer Fined $300,000 for Incident During Transportation of Dangerous Goods
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Employer Fined $300,000 for Incident During Transportation of Dangerous Goods

27 April 2020

A Victorian maintenance firm in the Bayswater area has been convicted and fined $300,000 after a gas bottle explosion in December 2017 left a worker permanently disabled.

A worker’s ute caught on fire when gas bottles, that contained acetylene and oxygen, exploded in the vehicle’s fully enclosed toolbox being transferred from a supplier, the court heard. Because the ute’s enclosed canopy was too low to allow the worker to place them in an upright position, the two gas bottles had been placed on their side and unsecured, allowing acetylene vapour and air to mix and explode.

The Employer, New Sector Engineering, was found to have failed to have a system of work in place for the transportation of gas bottles, including having adequate ventilation and ensuring the bottles were properly secured and upright when moved. Today the worker requires a wheelchair and experiences memory loss as a result of multiple traumatic physical and mental injuries. Duties of employers to employees and contractors, section 21 of the Victorian Health and Safety Act 2004 outlines the Act requires all employers to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health.

Transportation or storage of dangerous goods such as gas bottles should have a documented process and controls in place. Below are a few points outline to consider outlined within ‘Dangerous Goods Act 1985 - Code of Practice for the storage and handling of dangerous goods 2013’ and best practice. These should include:

  • Packages are loaded, secured, segregated, transported and unloaded safely
  • Ensuring those goods are stored and secured in an upright position
  • Chemicals are appropriately segregated as per SDS requirements
  • Having firefighting equipment readily available

For assistance, speak to a Health & Safety expert at Greencap.