Last reviewed 18 November 2020

A&D Logistics Ltd, a national logistics haulier, has been fined £48,000 after a worker suffered flash burn injuries when there was an explosion as he opened the door of a container.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard how, on 7 January 2019, a team leader was asked to dry out condensation from the office accommodation container. The custom and practice within the yard was to use a propane fuelled open-flame gas torch attached to a 47Kg LPG cylinder which was left burning within the container. The team leader did this work and returned later to check on progress of the container. However, there was an explosion as he opened the door and he was thrown by force against a steel workshop container. The employee also suffered flash burns to his arms and face.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the company allowed the gas torch and propane cylinder to be left unattended with the torch lit while the employee attended other work. Following a series of failings including that the container did not contain sufficient oxygen to support safe combustion because of inadequate ventilation, yard personnel had no hot work training, the workwear worn by the team leader was not suitable for hot work activities and formal training and instruction for drying out wet containers with a propane gas torch was absent, the company pleaded guilty to breaching s.2 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974.

Hot work is any activity that involves the use of a source of ignition, and must be risk assessed. In most cases, hot work should only be carried out under a permit to work. In addition, suitable personal protective clothing, which is grease and oil free, must be provided and the equipment user must ensure that it is worn when carrying out hot work operations.