In Victoria, a maintenance firm has been convicted and fined $300,000 after a worker was permanently disabled in a gas bottle explosion.
New Sector Engineering Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Melbourne County Court on 25 March, to failing to provide a work environment that was safe and without risks to health, and failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.
The incident occurred when a company ute caught fire from exploding gas bottles (containing acetylene and oxygen) being transported in an enclosed toolbox.
The court heard the two gas bottles had been placed unsecured and on their side as the ute’s enclosed canopy was too low to allow the worker to place them in an upright position, allowing acetylene vapour and air to mix and explode.
The injured worker requires a wheelchair and has memory loss as a result of multiple traumatic, physical and mental injuries.
The court heard that New Sector Engineering failed to have a system of work in place for the transportation of gas bottles, including adequate ventilation and ensuring the bottles were properly secured and upright when moved.