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Hot cutting in container modifications

Safety Alert
10 July 2019

We are investigating an incident that occurred yesterday at Mannum in which a worker sustained serious burns whilst using oxy-acetylene cutting equipment to cut a steel drum. It previously contained flammable liquid. The investigation is continuing.

We remind anyone working with oxy-acetylene cutting equipment or used storage containers to stop and think before performing any hot work on them – has the container been used to store flammable liquid or gas, was it a chemical, is there a hazard diamond on the drum? If the contents of the drum or container are unknown, do not use hot cutting equipment. If this is unavoidable, the following measures should be considered:

  • The reuse of flammable storage containers should be avoided
  • Containers must be properly disposed of
  • Do not perform hot work on or near flammable storage containers unless all existing sources of ignition have been eliminated or controlled, the contents have been neutralised and the container has been properly cleaned and certified vapour-free by a competent person
  • Always refer to the Safety Data Sheet and the manufacturer’s instructions and precautions before performing any work on a container
  • Always provide proper training and supervision to all staff so they understand the risks
  • Develop safe work processes to manage the hazard and ensure all staff understand and are properly trained on these processes.

See the National Code of Practice for Welding Processes.