The UK HSE reports that an engineering company was fined after a worker suffered life changing injuries after an oxygen pipe exploded in front of him. Work was being carried out to fit a valve to a pipe that carried pure oxygen. The worker was carrying out checks when he heard hissing from the valve. While investigating the noise, the pipe and valve erupted in flames.
The injured person suffered severe third degree burns as a result of this incident. He was initially not expected to survive, having been kept in a coma for several weeks and undergoing several skin grafts.
What went wrong? What were the causes?
An investigation by the UK HSE found the oxygen pipe had been fitted with contaminated second-hand flanges and butterfly valve, containing materials unsuitable for use with oxygen. It was foreseeable that work would at some point be undertaken on the oxygen pipelines that ran across the entire site, yet no action had been taken to take control of this line or to implement training or levels of responsibility for management of such work.
The UK HSE noted that the “incident could have been avoided if simple checks had been carried out.”
See the UK HSE websitefor the full press release.
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