10:00 pm, Saturday 2 November, 2013
A plumbing company in Darwin was convicted and fined $5000 for storing acetylene cylinders in an enclosed van, even after being given a formal warning by NT WorkSafe.
The company was fined in Darwin’s Court of Summary Jurisdiction under the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act after pleading guilty to the charge of failure to comply with health and safety duty and contesting, but found guilty of charge for breaching compliance with a prohibition notice.
According to investigations, the company was aware of the risks posed by using enclosed vans for storing and/or transporting acetylene cylinders, but they continued this practice. They were issued a Prohibition Notice by NT WorkSafe in May 2012, just after five months after a refrigeration mechanic was killed in a fatal gas explosion in Parap.
In June 2012, the company director went to a jobsite in West Lane, Darwin City to drop off oxyacetylene equipment required to complete a job. The equipment was brought to the site in a utility.
On the site, the equipment was unloaded from the utility. The cylinders were checked for leaks before the equipment was stored and secured in a company van parked at the site. About thirty minutes later, a worker attended the van where NT WorkSafe inspector talked to him.
Mr Doug Phillips, NT Work Health Authority, said that whilst acetylene cylinders were only stored for a short time, this did not excuse the breach of a prohibition notice.
“A prohibition notice is a written direction issued by a NT WorkSafe inspector that prohibits any activity the inspector believes involves or will involve a risk of imminent and serious injury or harm to the health of any person,” said Mr Phillips.
“Prohibition notices are issued for a reason; one young life has already been cut short in the Northern Territory due to the practice of storing and or transporting acetylene cylinders in enclosed vehicles and six months on, despite a formal warning, a company has been caught continuing to do the same thing.
“NT WorkSafe Inspectors are here to help and I urge all companies that are issued with notices to work with the inspectors to ensure compliance and the health and safety of all Territory workers,” said Mr Phillips.