An employee has suffered significant burns to his arm after hot bitumen escaped from a valve during a delivery, he required hospital treatment and was detained for several nights.
The tanker driver had started to discharge when he noticed bitumen escaping from a valve on his vehicle. He reported the problem to the site manager and asked for tools to tighten the valve bolts. The manager approached the valve with
some tools and checked to see if the spanner would fit. Whilst he was doing this the tanker driver had gone to the
other side of the vehicle and had decided to purge the line of bitumen, as he did so bitumen escaped from the faulty valve and covered the forearm of the manager. Immediate action was taken to quench the injury and apply first aid before the manager was taken to hospital for further treatment.
The injury sustained was serious but the consequences could have been far worse if the bitumen had sprayed into the employees face or even his eyes.
ACCIDENT / INCIDENT IMAGES
LEARNING POINTS / ACTIONS TAKEN
• The tanker had a faulty valve – The delivery should have been stopped and the load rejected rather than allow the
driver to attempt repair, (it is unknown at this stage what the bitumen supplier procedures are in this matter or
whether the driver was authorised to attempt repair).
• The employee was stood next to the tanker – Bitumen delivery points should be demarcated out and no one other
than the driver in proper protective equipment should be in the area of discharge.
• The injured person was wearing overalls but had the sleeves rolled up with only a nylon Hi Vis long sleeved vest
protecting his arm – Anyone involved in bitumen deliveries should wear full protection including full face visor,
overalls and gauntlet gloves.
• No pre task risk assessment was made – No assessment was made of the risk of approaching the faulty valve
which should have identified the hazard of escaping hot bitumen and the need for full body protection.
• The tanker driver did not consider where the employee was stood – There was lack of communication between the
tanker driver and the employee, the tanker driver did not consider the risk of injury to others through his action in
purging the line of bitumen.
A further alert will be issued when the full investigation is completed.
LEARNING POINTS / ACTIONS IMAGES
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