Skip to content

Worker suffers life changing injury after pressure test failure

What happened?

The UK HSE advises that three companies were sentenced after an employee suffered serious fractures to his leg. An employee of one company was taking part in a pressure test of a boiler at the site of a second company. A third company were assisting in the pressure test. The injured person was there to verify the test.

What went wrong?

A valve on a pressure test rig was pressurised above the safe working limit and failed, causing the hose and metal fitting assembly to whip round, striking the employee on the right leg, causing serious compound fractures.

As a result of the incident, the injured person had his leg amputated from the knee down. The HSE’s principal inspector noted that all three companies had failed the injured person. If appropriate pressure relief had been fitted and the companies had put in place a system of work that was safe, then this person would not have been exposed to the harm he suffered.

IMCA notes that particularly close attention to responsibility for safety should be taken where different companies or organisations are working together at the same site.

Members may wish to refer to the following similar incident:

Safety Event

Published: 12 December 2017
Download: IMCA SF 30/17

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.