Pressure-testing of underground petrol storage system causes explosion
SafeWork NSW v Go Go Petroleum Pty Ltd (2022)
Go Go Petroleum was contracted to build a petrol station in Wagga Wagga. This job required the installation of underground storage tanks and connecting pipe work. Go Go Petroleum engaged Mr Hicks who was a plumber and gasfitter, but was not licensed to perform pressure-testing on underground tanks.
On 26 February 2018, Mr Hicks, who had been engaged for only 6 months, was unsupervised and following verbal directions for pressure-testing an underground petrol storage system. He applied pressure that was 10-times the safe pressure limit and failed to isolate the tank from the connecting framework, which caused the pipework and tank to pressurise simultaneously at 350kPa. This exceeded the 35kPa limit and caused the tank to explode, propelling the 83kg Durapipe outlet 82m down the street. Mr Hicks escaped with minor injuries.
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