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FOLLOWING the “tragic” death of a man in Conder last week WorkSafe ACT is urging people to be aware of how to store and transport gas cylinders safely.Work Safety commissioner Greg Jones says preliminary investigations into the incident, which killed a man, 51, indicated that an acetylene gas bottle had leaked into a compartment at the back of a work ute.
An ignition source then caused an explosion tragically killing the driver who was standing next to the vehicle.
“Acetylene is a fuel gas which when combined with oxygen is generally used for welding, cutting, localised heating and flame hardening,” Mr Jones says.
“Acetylene and other flammable gas cylinders including oxygen, propane and butane, are commonly transported in vehicles by tradespersons such as plumbers and construction workers involved in refrigeration, welding and gas fitting and other similar activities.
“In addition, householders commonly transport their LPG gas cylinders when they get their BBQ bottle swapped or refilled.
“If there is a leak of gas then any ignition source – often the vehicle’s electrical system, it can cause a significant explosion.”
Mr Jones says that when transporting or storing flammable gas cylinders people should ensure:
- cylinder valves are tightly closed
- the regulator, hoses and torch are disconnected
- cylinders are secured in an upright position
- cylinders cannot be struck by other objects (such as loose tools or other materials) during transport
- there is no leakage around the main valve area (test with detector or soapy water); and
- you are carrying a dry powder fire extinguisher.
He says gas cylinders must not be carried in the passenger compartment of any vehicle and good ventilation was essential.
“If cylinders must be carried in closed areas of vehicles, a storage cabinet with outlets in the base of the cabinet vented outside the vehicle must be used,” he says.
“Finally, ensure persons using or transporting gas cylinders are appropriately trained and instructed on the proper handling, storage and transport of gas cylinders including emergency procedures.”