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Hot Works - Gas Torch-Fatal Burn Injuries - Risk Alert 98

SSM Roundel

Steamship Mutual

Published: July 11, 2023

Transport Malta have recently issued Safety Investigation Report no. 09/2023 which concerns a fatal incident on board a bulk carrier, drawing attention to the dangers of uncontrolled hot work being undertaken with inadequate preparation, no work permit and poor supervision. 

In this fatal incident a deck fitter joined the MV Kiran Anatolia to assist in the replacement of leaking hydraulic oil carrying pipes and other hot work repairs. The fitter had commenced work on a section of leaking hydraulic oil pipe using an oxy-acetylene torch when a fire started either from a flashback at the oxy-acetylene torch, or by the ignition of hydraulic oil. The subsequent investigation revealed that the commencement of the repair work had not been agreed and that neither a hot work nor a cold work permit had been issued 


The fire that engulfed the fitter was considered to be due to either a flashback in the oxy-acetylene equipment or the ignition of the leaking hydraulic oil. Although the cause remained inconclusive, the report highlights the importance of installing a flashback arrestor in the supply lines of the oxy-acetylene torch (COSWP para 24.10.5) and that the hydraulic piping is oil-free before hot work can be undertaken. 

A failure to follow and implement appropriate preparation and safety protocols suggesting a lack of knowledge and safety awareness from the fitter

The Safety Investigation Report no. 09/2023 also makes reference to a  Transport Malta Safety Investigation Report No. 05/2022 which had similarly identified the dangers of working with heat or spark generating tools, a lack of safety awareness and inadequate supervision of a repair gang. Club Risk Alert 87 was issued to raise awareness of these issues.

Additional Resources


Transport Malta Safety Investigation Report No. 09/2023

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