Vic Company Guilty Over Worker Death

Friday, October 23rd, 2015
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A Melbourne plumber who died when his work van exploded was not adequately trained about storage, management or transportation of the highly flammable gas bottles he carried, a court has heard.

Joey Consentino, 25, was thrown at least five meters by the explosion in his work van that was parked at his home in Mulgrave on December 12, 2011, the County Court of Victoria heard.

It is believed the explosion was caused by a leaking oxy acetylene gas bottle regularly carried in the van and may have been ignited when he opened a door.

The explosion damaged windows and roofs on up to 20 nearby homes and was heard 5km away.

The plumber, who specialised in air conditioning or refrigeration work, kept up to seven gas cylinders in the back of his vehicle, the court heard.

Crown prosecutor Philip Dunn QC said witness statements made after the explosion showed Mr Consentino and his colleagues had not been properly educated about the risks associated with the gas bottles, and only knew what they had learnt on the job.

Cool Dynamics Refrigeration pleaded guilty to three charges including failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment and failing to provide training.

Acting on behalf of the company, barrister Garry Livermore will argue there is no legislation, requirement or advice that a reasonable employer, such as Cool Dynamics, would have written risk assessments or procedures for.

Judge Mark Dean told the court he expected to determine how the explosion occurred and how Mr Consentino was trained in the storage, management and transport of highly flammable gases.

The trial is expected to begin next week.

The judge will also decide whether the alleged absence of written risk assessments, training and brass seals for gas bottles led to Mr Consentino’s death.

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