Company fined after worker fatally struck by pressurised pipe
Fire suppression company BSA Advanced Property Solutions (Fire) Pty Ltd (BSA Fire) has been convicted and fined $450,000 after a worker suffered a fatal injury when he attempted to remove a metal ‘test cap’ which was connected to a pressurised pipe at a construction site in Sydney’s CBD in 2019. The company was sentenced in the NSW District Court for failing to ensure as far as reasonably practicable the health and safety of workers.
Head of SafeWork NSW Natasha Mann said simple steps could have been taken to eliminate or minimise the risk posed to workers. According to Mann, the incident occurred during the removal of a test cap on a sprinkler line, when a sudden release of pressurised air caused the cap to blow off and strike the worker in the head. “In this instance there was no pressure gauge or release valve fitted to the fire hydrant circuit or test cap which would have provided workers with the ability to know the extent of any pressure in the line. A valve would also have allowed the line to be opened in a safe and controlled manner to check if there was any residual water or air pressure before safely releasing it,” Mann said.
Safety measures and other documentation and procedures that could have been in place before the incident have since been adopted by BSA Fire, which the court found to be unlikely to reoffend. “That includes an updated safe work method statement which encourages the installation of gauges and valves in test caps and lockout–tagout systems to manage the risk of an uncontrolled release of hydraulic and pneumatic energy,” Mann said.
BSA Fire has a right to appeal the sentence which was handed down on 16 December 2022. Workers and businesses are urged to take a zero tolerance approach to safety breaches in the workplace.
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