Following a tank integrity test that resulted in an explosion that hurled an 83kg chunk of metal hundreds of metres away into a public street damaging vehicles and resulting in minor injuries to the worker, the business that was building the next service station has been fined more then $160,000 for allowing an person who was not Duly Qualified to undertake tank testing.
The incident occurred in 2018, during the construction of a service station, when the owners plumber and gas fitter was pressure testing the integrity of the UPSS and the tank ruptured sending debris hundreds of metres into the street including a massive chunk of metal weighing over 83kg and causing minor injuries to the worker.
The service station owner has been fined $120,000 and $43,435 in costs for the incident. The fine was reduced due to an early guilty plea
In making his judgment the Judge noted that the worker had no experience in pressure testing a UPSS and did not notify the site owner that the testing was to be done.
However the failures on the business side were also large contributors to the incident including that the business did not provide adequate instructions or supervision and they failed to ensure that pressure testing was conducted by a duly qualified person noting that such tests must be “performed by a third party who can certify the work. It is not permissible for a company to certify its own work”.
Learnings for all businesses
“There is a legal requirement for all businesses to ensure the safe operation of their sites and fines will apply, even when the contractor is operating outside of the businesses instructions” explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.
“This requirement starts with the bare minimum of engaging appropriate qualified contractors. In the fuel industry a lack of formal nationally recognised accreditation has created a grey area around what is a Duly Qualified Person. The traditional response has been to ensure that contractors have demonstrated experience in the works they are conducting and hold industry training. With the advent of the nationally accredited skills in fuel system introduction, supervision, install, maintenance and decommissioning cases such as these will start turning on whether the contractor held the relevant nationally accredited skills training to determine if they are a Duly Qualified Person under the Act” explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.
Duly Qualified Person?
ACAPMA has launched a professional development program that recognises the skills and experiences of fuel industry contractors called the Duly Qualified Person program, to learn more or register see; https://acapma.com.au/contractors/
ACAPMA RTO (RTO No. 45783) is now delivering these skills in Sets and Courses;
• Fuel Storage and Dispensing Site Contractor Induction Skill Set
• Supervise Compliance with Fuel Storage and Dispensing Site Requirements Skill Set
• Fuel Storage and Dispensing System Installation and Modification Course
• Fuel Storage and Dispensing System Maintenance Course
• Fuel Storage and Dispensing System Decommissioning Course
To explore the ACAPMA Course Catalogue of both industry and accredited training see; https://acapma.com.au/training/
Here to Help
Safety Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general information for you to consider and do not constitute advice. You should seek further advice on your situation by contacting your legal advisor. ACAPMA members can access resources and receive advice, guidance and support from the ACAPMA employment professionals via firstname.lastname@example.org , it is free for members. ACAPMA Membership delivers this and more benefits, see; https://acapma.com.au/membership/ for more information.
Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)