12:32 pm, Friday 4 May, 2012
WorkSafe Executive Director
Photo: Safe Work Australia
NT WorkSafe criticised the complacency of Territory businesses in transporting and storing flammable gas cylinders in the rear of enclosed work vans.
According to WorkSafe Executive Director, Laurene Hull, many businesses in the air-conditioning, refrigeration and plumbing repair services were ignoring the dangers and continuing the lives of their workers at risk despite the tragic deaths of two young tradesmen last December.
“In the first four months of 2012, NT WorkSafe has issued Prohibition Notices to more than 60 percent of those businesses we have attended to check on this situation,” said Ms Hull.
“Despite intense media coverage over the deaths of two young tradesmen within the same week last December, inspection conducted by NT WorkSafe Inspectors has shown companies are still transporting and storing flammable gas cylinders in enclosed work vans.”
In December 2011, a 24-year-old refrigeration mechanic was killed when his work van containing flammable gas cylinders exploded in the driveway of his home. Preliminary findings from NT WorkSafe revealed that the probable cause of the explosion was a build up of flammable gas in the van.
A 25-year-old tradesman was also killed in similar circumstances in Melbourne on 12 December 2011 when his work van, also containing flammable gas cylinders, exploded.
“It amazes me that despite all the media coverage and Safety Alerts being issued by NT WorkSafe and WorkSafe Victoria, there are businesses out there that have ignored the fatalities and in their complacency continue to put their workers and members of the public at serious risk,” said Ms Hull.
“What people need to understand is that these flammable gases only need the smallest of sparks, the most innocuous of actions to cause an explosion.
“The investigation into the Parap explosion is still ongoing and over the next few weeks NT WorkSafe will conduct inspections at businesses across the Territory to monitor the issue of flammable gas cylinders being stored and transported in enclosed work vans.
“I urge people to download the Safety Alert on the NT WorkSafe website and implement measures to reduce the risk of similar incidents occurring in the future.”