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Let us consider a case study. This occurred a few years ago, but it just illustrates how easy things can go wrong, with dire consequences. This involved a worker. He'd only been with the company for about three months, and he was given a task to enter a toluene tank. Now, just to explain what a toluene tank is, it is a liquid product that is highly flammable and highly explosive. Now, his job was, it being emptied out, he'd have to go inside and clean this vessel. He got his respirator, checked it, but then entered the tank without wearing it. Straight away. Why? Why test some piece of equipment that is there to protect you, and then to fail to actually use it? Well, there is no surprise, he was overcome by the vapours in the tank. Now the emergency plan had to be initiated. A call was made to the emergency services. They arrived, and they came up with this particular plan. They would use an electric saw to widen the opening to allow entry wearing a self-contained breathing apparatus.

This is a tank that has had a liquid in it that has been removed, but there are vapours that also have the potential to cause a fire or explosion. And they used an electric saw to cut into this stainless steel vessel. Consequence? A spark from the saw ignited the vapours in the tank, resulting in an explosion. The explosion killed the worker in the tank and one of the firefighters as well. Tragic consequences. Now during that actual investigation, to some extent, the Fire Service knew what they were doing. They even had water spraying to ensure there would be no spark. The firefighter actually got around 95% of the cut, but then he stopped to re-position. The water was turned off and then he started before the water was back on again. And that is when the spark ignited and caused the explosion. So of all lessons, lessons both from the emergency services on how we plan and do things, as well as those who enter the confined space, was this accident avoidable? It certainly was. Proper training, following the regulations, having a risk assessment, a proper safeness of work in place and a good knowledge of what we are working with would have made all the difference, and two people would not have lost their life.