Two companies have been fined a combined amount of $155,000 by the New South Wales Industrial Court after an explosion in 2006 left a worker blind and injured.
Hasib Kamenjasevic was an employee at a large welding facility operated by Weldlok in the western Sydney suburb of Yagoona.
The factory deals with metal fabrication and, as such, had a number of gas tanks and lines installed.
While he was changing a high pressure line from an empty oxygen tank to a full one, an explosion occurred inside one of the gas fittings, causing them to break off from the tank and strike Kamenjasevic in the head with great force.
He suffered severe injuries, with multiple fractures to his face and skull, as well as losing sight in both of his eyes.
The court heard that despite months spent in rehabilitation, Kamenjasevic will never be able to return to work.
A report by WorkCover NSW detailed that the hose was fitted by Fluid Tech Hydraulics, which was under contract by Weldlok to install fittings on the gas system.
The investigation discovered that the hose installed was initially designed for use in hydraulic systems and was never intended for use with high pressure oxygen.
Fluid Tech is reported to have failed to check the certification of the installed parts for compliance with its intended use, nor did it perform any of the required safety checks throughout the entire installation process.
WorkCover also found that Kamenjasevic's previous employer, Weldlok, failed to carry out its own safety checks on the newly-installed hose.
On hearing the findings, John Watson – a general manager at WorkCover NSW – said; "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."
"Unfortunately, these precautions were not followed in this instance and a man is now permanently injured."
According to WorkCover NSW, Kamenjasevic is likely to be able to access compensation for the medical costs and rehabilitation expenses related to his accident.
He may also be eligible to receive statutory permanent impairment compensation.
If you suffer an injury in the workplace, it is important that you report the accident and speak with a compensation lawyer in order to make a claim.