In May 2018, a worker received severe head injuries while removing a hose from a 100 tonne pressure vessel. Initial inquiries indicate the worker was bleeding the vessel when he was struck on the head by the hose, rendering him unconscious. He died of his injuries in hospital. Investigations are continuing.
Preventing a similar incident
There are many different types of pressure vessels, lines and hoses which can be hazardous. These include boilers, air compressors and receivers, gas storage tanks and associated equipment. A failure or sudden release of a line or a hose under pressure can be devastating to people nearby.
Before performing any work on a pressurised system, a risk assessment must be carried out to determine factors such as:
- the type of system and the pressure within the vessel and associated lines and hoses
- previous maintenance history of the plant including its condition
- the complexity of the system and its controls
- the competency required of each person who will be working on the system.
The person with management and control of the system must ensure that it is safe to begin work on. When working on pressurised hoses for gas or fluid transfer from one vessel to another, ensure:
- hoses intended for fluid transfer from one vessel to another are properly attached to both vessels before valves are opened
- valves or controls are properly closed and that the pressure has been bled from the system before hoses or lines are removed
- the hose and its end fittings are of the correct type and pressure-rating and that they are in good condition
- if part of the hose is to be restrained by fixing, that the fixing is of a type specified by the hose manufacturer or an engineer.
Since 2012 we have been notified of another 19 events involving workers or bystanders being struck by gas pressure hoses. None of these previous incidents resulted in a fatality, but the worker’s death in this instance highlights the potential for another fatality and warrants issue of this alert.