Reckless endangerment charges after explosion

Monday, 19 March, 2007

Two men will stand trial under the "reckless endangerment' provision of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after making acetylene gas bombs at one of the men's workplaces.

Brian William Eller, 26, of Lavington, and Joel Ashley Elkington, 20, of Wodonga, pleaded not guilty in the Wodonga Magistrates Court on 1 March.

The two men pleaded not guilty and WorkSafe told the court it was fortunate the incident did not kill anyone or cause significant property damage.

Magistrate Tom Barrett heard the men filled large plastic bags with oxy-acetylene, a gas used in welding, and sealed them with masking tape on 24 November 2005.

They planned to take the bags of gas to a private property, but they exploded, leaving both men with some hearing loss.

One of the men's hands and stomach were burned and his t-shirt was destroyed. Another employee who was collecting tools for some work off-site suffered tinnitus.

The matter has been adjourned for a case conference on 11 May. The employer was not aware of the events leading to the incident, which happened after working hours.

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