Explosion of tank raising safety concerns

Date: Jun 16, 2014

The importance of safely removing underground storage tanks has been highlighted by WorkCover NSW after three workers were seriously injured in an explosion in New South Wales.

The accident occurred during attempts to pull up an underground storage tank which had previously contained unleaded petrol. As two workers watched nearby, another worker on an excavator lifted the tank up.

As the excavator, which wasn't equipped with chains or lifting lugs, raised the tank, the explosion occurred as the petrol caught a spark.

This illustrates the dangers of working around toxic or flammable chemicals. Any workers injured at work in this way could be eligible for compensation, so as soon as you are well enough you should contact a compensation lawyer that can discuss your situation and check the validity of your claim.

WorkCover NSW investigations found the explosion happened as a result of an ignition source in close contact of a hazardous area, but also blamed a number of other reasons including:

1) There was still petrol in the tank.

2) The tank hadn't been cleaned of chemicals prior to removal?.

3) Workers used the incorrect technique for removing the tank?.

4) The site manager had no experience removing underground storage tanks.

Employers with workers operating machinery are obligated under work health and safety legislation to ensure that the work is carried out without undue risk to anyone. If business executives don't comply, there could be major ramifications either through public or private prosecution.

It is also up to the persons conducting business or undertaking the removal of underground tanks to identify potential hazards and make sure due process is followed before any work is started.

Employees working with old tanks and pipe work should be well educated and experienced in working with these potentially dangerous situations, and prepared to operate in accordance with work and safety guidelines.

Contractors need to be licensed by WorkCover to carry out work of this nature and must have the appropriate qualifications for the demolition of chemical installations.

Workplace compensation

These workers could be eligible to claim compensation back for injuries suffered and subsequent loss of income. This would depend on circumstances which lawyers can discuss in more depth.

Gerard Malouf and Partner lawyers operate on a no win no fee basis so they can advise you on your chances for success free of charge – if they think you have a case, it's completely up to you whether you engage their services.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.