Thursday, 4 June 2009

Gas Bottle Danger

My dislike of health and safety is probably extreme, but l feel that they have made the world more dangerous to live in, they have taken away especailly younger people ability to think for themselves and have made people think that there is a reason for every “accident” and someone is to blame and it could have been stopped.
Finally when you have a genuine reason to need them or the laws they control they run a bloody mile.

A few years ago at about 23:00 we heard a loud hissing sound and looked all round still nothing. It seemed to be coming from outside. We went out and l realised that it was from the other side of the road behind us. One of the residents parked his work lorry there every night and he had about 3 size E (weight 108kg of which 47kg is propane) propane bottles tied upright on the back as well as a selection of other gasses including several size F oxygen bottles (1360litres/17kg) and other smaller cutting and welding gasses. At least one of the propane bottles was wide open and hissing out. By the look of things some scroat had decided to be clever and have some fun.

I sent the aux in to ring the fire brigade asap and tell them and we debated what to do next. This was a very scary situation all it needed was someone coming past smoking and we would be history, about 20 foot away from the propane was our O2 and nitrous cage which held a further 15 large (f) bottles of oxygen and about 2 big of nitrous. Not much would have been left of the area.

Did we go and try to turn it off, hammer on doors till we found the driver or what. Luckily he heard and came out and turned it off. By this point it had been open about 10 to 15 minutes, about 2 mins before the fire brigade turned up. They had a chat and then drove off.

The next night the lorry was back as usual and l “blew my stack”. I did some research and rang a friend of mine at fire training. He confirmed that the lorry shouldn’t be parked there and needed to be in a secure area. He said he could get the fire brigade round to get him to move it but as l said “Sorry but you have no teeth you can only ask nicely” he did agree and suggested the police.
So l rang the police who said they could do nothing. Despite the fact it was on a public road.
I carefully read what l could find (google) of gas storage rules and the heath and safety site for the UK and rang up the main Manchester branch they said they would look into it.

They rang me back and said that they could do nothing without photos and a written statement, so l took photos of the parking, wrote a statement and sent it in.
Phone call back could they show it to the company that owned the vehicle sure if it means they shift it. I said that if they did not shift it they should make a lockable cage top for the cylinders so no one could turn them on as had been done.

At this point l used to go into the yahoo chat rooms a lot and by chance got talking to a long distance lorry driver that did a lot of dangerous goods haulage. He was furious when he heard and agreed that it contravened a lot of laws and regulations and gave me the names and dates of them

Health and safety called back a few days later. As far as everyone was concerned it was me with the problem, all was safe and to stop hounding some little business, the driver needed it for work. I pointed out that it contravened UK and EU own laws and rules that they had on their site including a whole lot of laws and regulations l had found out elsewhere.” Ermm what laws”. I told them, As you guessed … they would phone back..

They phoned back and said, no it doesn’t break any regulations or laws, I made the point it very much did and when the whole area went up then as far as l was concerned they would be done for murder as l made sure that everyone knew and l would go to the papers next so residents knew just how dangerous the situation was. I then informed the cretin on the phone that “He and his health and safely team were the biggest bunch of bureaucratic arseholes since bureaucratic arseholes were invented”
“I take it you do not like us then?” was the reply.
I just put the phone down there was nothing more to be said.

I spoke to my friend the lorry driver again. He said he had a phone number that he shouldn’t give me but under the circumstances l needed to because the situation was so dangerous. The phone number was a pvt line for a judge who had been involved in some of the major enquires for new roads. I rang the judge and they were very pleasant, considering some total stranger had rung them, fuming about what was happening and the lack of help.
They asked for statement, photos, who l had spoken to and all that had gone on. That from the sounds of things it needed looking into. To leave it with them, once they got all my info they would “look into it”.
Within the week the lorry was parked about 15 yards away on a bit of private dirt road, but only about 5 yards off the main road.

About a week later I got a phone call from the judge to see if things had improved. I explained what had happened that l was not happy as from what l could see they tried to use the excuse they were not on a public road so the law did not apply.
You do not piss off a judge, especially not one with a lot of pull. That lorry was never seen on the dirt or public road from that night on, it was parked it in a locked yard at the end of the dirt road.

The judge did not ring back they did not need to.


Dave the Dog said...

Nice one VN. I agree that when you need urgent action it's almost impossible to get. Defra, need I say more :o(

JuliaM said...

"As far as everyone was concerned it was me with the problem, all was safe and to stop hounding some little business, the driver needed it for work."

Typical! God forbid they should do any actual work, when filling in forms in the office is so much less hassle...

Roses said...

Good for you!

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

How empowering! I like that :)
Well done!!!
The world is ful of arseholes... and idiots, and people who cause the deaths of others through ignorance, apathy, negligence...
One down

Vetnurse said...

Many thanks and have to say it was a good feeling getting it sorted when you think there is no place left to go, hang in there because you never know when that angel is going to slip you a helping hand you were not expecting.

Dave think the term is government!

joker the lurcher said...

oh yes, that frustration thing. i get so narked about trying to get things to happen.

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

I have an award for you:) You can find it on my site.
And I do love your blog :)
C ya

Vetnurse said...

Fantastic many thanks Fi :-)