AUSTRALIA: A leaking acetylene gas bottle is suspected as the cause of an explosion which killed a refrigeration worker in Conder, Canberra, on August 2.

The 51-year-old man was standing next to his vehicle when it exploded in a school car park as he waited to pick up his child. He was rushed to hospital where he later died.

Greg Jones, commissioner at Worksafe ACT, the Australian Capital Territory’s health and safety authority, said that preliminary investigations had indicated that an acetylene gas bottle leaked into a compartment at the back of a work ute which then ignited.

He reminded engineers that when transporting or storing flammable gas cylinders to check to ensure that cylinder valves are tightly closed, that there is no leakage around the main valve area and that the regulator, hoses and torch are disconnected; cylinders must also be secured in an upright position, and steps should be taken to ensure that they cannot be struck by other objects (such as loose tools or other materials) during transport.

In 2015, a Melbourne refrigeration company was fined AUS$285,000 (€194,000) after an employee died when his work van exploded outside his home in Mulgrave in 2011. It was suspected that a leaking oxy acetylene gas cylinder may have been ignited when he opened the vehicles door but this could not be confirmed.

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