Following simple safety steps can help workers avoid dangerous and potentially catastrophic outcomes.

Recently, a worker in Western Australia had a near fatal incident when a tank he was working on exploded while performing hot work.

The worker in question used an electric arc welder to attach a bracket to a sealed metal tank, which had previously contained flammable liquids including methanol. When the worker commenced welding, the tank started to make rumbling noises and an explosion occurred which blew the lid off the tank and pulled the tank supports out of the concrete floor.

Amazingly, no one was injured in this incident, however there was significant potential for serious injury or death.

This close call goes to show the importance of conducting a task risk assessment, which would have quickly identified the potential hazards associated with this job, and saved this worker from being exposed to a high risk hazard.

All the procedures and policies in the world aren’t going to get us any closer to incident free work sites unless we train our people in hazard identification and control, and how to assess risk.

We all look forward to a future where, through continuous improvements in health & safety, task risk assessments become second nature and avoidable incidents need never happen.