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Worker wins costs for exploding fuel tank

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/11/2016

A Tasman Bay worker injured after a fuel tank he was welding exploded has secured $12,000 in reparations from his employer.

The Nelson District Court also ordered the owner and operator of L I Engineering, Kent Leppien, to underake 100 hours of community work.

It convicted Leppien of permitting repair works on a tourist boat which caused unnecessary danger to people or property after he did not provide his staff with adequate training.

Leppien had earlier pleaded guilty to the charge.

Maritime New Zealand said the court had been told Leppien's employees had limited experience welding fuel tanks.

"Mr Leppien did not accompany them to do the work and told them not to empty the fuel tank," Maritime NZ said in a statement.

"For previous, more major jobs, the tanks had been drained and cleaned, with the work overseen by Mr Leppien."

The maritime authority said recommended safety standards called for all drums containing flammable substances to be emptied and cleaned by boiling or steaming before any welding-like work was undertaken.

"This is dangerous work and no one should take short-cuts when flammable substances and confined spaces are involved," Maritime NZ Southern Regional compliance manager Mike Vredenburg said.

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