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Written by
on 24 June 2011


A gas company based in Edgware have been fined after one of their employees was killed in an explosion.  The accident also left a member of the public with severe injuries.  This tragedy was a result of poor training which can be provided by health and safety consultants.  The investigation also showed that no risk assessments had taken place.

Gas Company Specialised in Supply Gas Canisters

The accident occurred at a site on Buckinghamshire where a member of the public had brought his gas cylinder to be filled.  The firm Oak Farm Gas Company Ltd, which trades under the name of Mr Fizz, is a gas firm which focus upon supplying firms with highly pressurised carbon dioxide, gas mixtures and nitrogen for drink dispensers.

Ignoring Advice Proved Lethal – refilling gas cylinder

Once a gas canister is emptied the licensed drink dispensers are able to bring them to Mr Fizz to have them refilled.  This is what happened on the day of the accident in New Denham, Bucks.  49 year old Maurice Kelly drove to see 21 year old Kerry Daly who worked for Mr Fizz.

When Mr Daly saw that the cylinder valve fitting was different to the filling station he telephoned a colleague for advice.  The colleague said that Mr Daly should not attempt to fill up the canister, but this advice was ignored.  When he tried to fill it the cylinder exploded leaving both Mr Daly and Mr Kelly seriously injured.  Mr Daly later died from his injuries and Mr Kelly had to have his leg amputated just below the knee. He has also been left with injuries which have meant he has lost some use of both of his hands.

Investigation Found Failings

After the incident the site was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive.  They found that the workshop was not suitable for filling any low pressure cylinders.   The inspectors went on to discover that Mr Daly had not been given the correct training.

Rather than using the health and safety services offered by consultants, his training was only verbal and there was no documentation showing what the discussion involved.  Furthermore there had been no risk assessments carried out regarding the working environment and use of tools.

Mr Fizz, the trade name for Oak Farm Gas Company Ltd, were fined £90,000 and £50,000 in costs after pleading guilty for breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.  They were also in breach of the regulations 4(3) and 8(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1988.

Completely Avoidable

Had there been the proper health and safety training and risk assessments this accident which left one man dead and another with life changing injuries would have been avoided.  Health and safety consultants are able to offer you many services to ensure that your employees are properly trained and that the public are protected.

Call 0800 1488 677  to speak to one of the experts at Veritas Health and Safety Consultants.   Make sure that you follow the laws and regulations by holding regular risk assessments and providing the correct training which are just two of the health and safety services provided by the firm.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.