Ipswich garage CVS fined for oil drum explosion

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Media captionCCTV of the incident was released by Ipswich Borough Council after the court case

An Ipswich repair garage has been fined £40,000 after an employee was left unconscious for five days when an oil drum exploded.

Findlay Gavin was trying to remove the end of the drum at CVS (Anglia) Ltd using a oxyacetylene torch when it happened in November 2011.

Magistrates in Ipswich heard he had recovered from his injuries.

The garage admitted two breaches of Health & Safety laws and was also ordered to pay £16,963 costs.

The prosecution was brought by Ipswich Borough Council and magistrates were shown CCTV footage of the explosion at the workshop on Holywells Road.

It showed Mr Gavin being knocked backwards as part of the drum flies straight up in the air.

Image caption Mr Gavin shown on CCTV moments before the oil drum exploded

Head injuries

His colleagues were seen rushing to his aid with fire extinguishing equipment.

He had head injuries and was taken to hospital by helicopter.

After the court case the council said oil drums were often cut apart to use as portable incinerators or waste bins, but there were several examples elsewhere of fatalities when attempts had been made to remove the ends of drums in this way.

Councillor Neil Macdonald, deputy leader, said: "The injuries to Mr Gavin were serious, but given the circumstances, there could well have been a fatality and we are relieved Mr Gavin has made a good recovery.

"We hope this sends a strong message to those businesses not complying with their duties to protect their staff and also that this raises awareness of how dangerous workplaces can be if not properly managed."

CVS (Anglia) Ltd said it did not want to comment further.

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