Last reviewed 19 May 2021

An MOT centre has been sentenced after oil drums supplied by them exploded and killed an agricultural engineer.

On 21 April 2017, Christopher Chatfield, an experienced agricultural engineer, was making metal pheasant feeders for the local game shoot at Puddock Down Warboys, Cambridgeshire. It involved converting empty 200 litre oil containers by cutting open the lids using a plasma torch. While cutting open the third drum, it violently exploded resulting in fatal injuries to Mr Chatfield.

An investigation by HSE found that the empty drums, labelled as having contained motor oil, were found to have also previously contained highly flammable gasoline. The residual gasoline vapour in the drums violently ignited upon the action of the hot cutting process, causing fatal injuries to Mr Chatfield.

Stonehill MOT Centre Ltd of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire was fined £80,000 for breaching section 6(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.