WorkCover News - Companies fined after man blinded, suffers serious facial and ...
Source: WorkCover (NSW) News
Two companies have been fined a total of $155,000 after a worker in Western
Sydney was blinded and left with multiple facial and skull fractures when a
high-pressure gas hose fitting came loose.
Weldlok operates a large welding and fabrication facility in Yagoona, and
Fluid Tech Hydraulics Pty Ltd is based in Lidcombe and does onsite
installation and maintenance of fluid gas equipment as well as welding and
On 13 October 2006, 63-year-old shift supervisor Hasib Kamenjasevic was
switching over the gas lines from the empty to full high pressure oxygen
However, an explosion occurred within the hose and fittings connected to
the high pressure oxygen tanks and they broke away from the tanks and
struck him with considerable force on the face and head.
He sustained significant injuries to his head and face, which resulted in
the loss of sight in both eyes, and multiple skull and facial fractures.
Mr Kamenjasevic also spent months in rehabilitation and his permanent
injuries mean he will never be able to return to work.
The WorkCover investigation found that both companies had failed to carry
out appropriate safety protocols that would most likely have prevented
these serious injuries.
The NSW Industrial Court was told that approximately six months earlier,
Mr Kamenjasevic's employer Weldlok, contracted Fluid Tech to install the
high-pressure oxygen line with hose and fittings.
The investigation found that Fluid Tech installed a hose designed
primarily for hydraulics, and not designed for use with high-pressure
Fluid Tech did not ensure the hose and its fitting was certified for use
with high pressure oxygen, nor did they carry out any safety tests on the
hose or its fittings to ensure they were safe for use prior to, during or
after the installation.
Weldlok had also failed to carry out their own risk assessment which the
court found would most likely have discovered the incorrect hose and
Fluid Tech Hydraulics Pty Ltd and Weldlok were charged with breaches of
the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2000. Fluid Tech Hydraulics was
fined $95,000 and Weldlok fined $60,000.
WorkCover NSW's General Manager of Work Health and Safety Division John
Watson said high pressure oxygen had explosive properties and strict safety
guidelines have to be followed.
"Working with high-pressure gases can be dangerous," Mr Watson said. "This
is why every precaution must be taken to protect all workers.
"It is critically important to ensure that gas fittings are fit for their
correct purpose and any changes to gas-lines or pipes are carried out by
qualified gas fitters and in accordance with the safety instructions of the
designer, manufacturer or supplier of the equipment.
"This is to protect the health and safety of users by effectively
controlling the potential for a violent release of contents from
pressurised gas installations.
"Unfortunately, these precautions were not followed in this instance and a
man is now permanently injured," Mr Watson said. WorkCover Media Unit: 4321
5474 or 0413 186 719