An explosion at Mason Engineering in November 2013 happened as they were transferring oxygen between pressurised cylinders. The partners had rigged up a make-shift hose fitting that was not designed for what was a high risk procedure.
It was found upon investigation that debris had built up in the end of the hose, causing it to overheat and ignite in the oxygen.
One of their workers, aged 48 at time of incident, was caught in the blast and suffered life changing injuries when he was blinded in his left eye and lost his left thumb and forefinger.
The two business partners, Samuel Trevor Mason and Shaun Christopher Mason, both of Blackhorse Lane Swainby, Northallerton both pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were fined £4,000 each and ordered to pay costs of £1,171 each.
The HSE inspector investigating the case commented that this was an accident that should never have happened.
The business admitted to developing their own practices rather than following the manufacturer’s guidelines. Clearly they didn’t understand the risks and had failed to call upon expert advice which if they had done so would have identified the risks of such a practice.
We often have to advise businesses on their failure to consider the risks properly and the potential consequences. When working with compressed gases they carry very specific risks and trying to transfer oxygen with in house manufactured components was extremely foolish and always likely to end badly.
For the employee unfortunately he now has to live with the permanent consequences of the explosion.