In a case of welding gone wrong, a Kent, UK-based waste oil storage and processing company has been fined following a huge blaze in March 2007.
A contract worker was welding the roof of a tank when the contents of the tank ignited, resulting in a huge fire at Eco-Oils site in Kingsnorth Industrial Estate, Rochester.
The company has been fined £125,000 (138,000) over poor safety standards, pleading guilty breaches of duty under the Health and Safety Work Act 1974, sections 2(1) and 3(1).
Eco-Oil was also ordered to pay £20,000 costs. The company, which has been operating at a loss, was given 10 months to pay the total of £145,000.
The waste oil storage and processing facility held many large tanks and on the day upgrading work was being carried out. The work included installing walkways and guardrails around the tanks to provide safer access.
The tank that exploded contained approximately 300,000 litres of mixed lube oil and fuel. The efforts of the Fire Service prevented the fire spreading to adjacent tanks.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is urging employers storing hazardous substances in bulk tanks to fully assess the risks and implement the necessary controls to ensure staff and contract workers are safe.