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Two Darwin Businesses in Court over Gas-bottle Explosions

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Darwin company has been charged over the gas bottle explosion that killed Patrick "Paddy" Bird more than a year ago.

Mr Bird, 24, was killed when pressurized flammable gas cylinders left in his enclosed work van exploded outside his Parap home on December 16, 2011.

The ignition spark came from the remote central locking device on his car key as he opened the van door.

As a results, Damday Pty Ltd could now be fined up to $650,000 if the NT Work Health Authority can successfully secure a conviction.

Representatives of Damday appeared in Darwin Magistrates Court on Monday charged with failing to identify risks to health or safety arising from their own conduct.

The charges were laid under the repealed Workplace Health and Safety Act.

Another Darwin company, Arafura Plumbing, has also been charged over a similar incident that occurred in July 2012.

Arafura Plumbing has been charged with reckless conduct that risked death or injury and failing to comply with a prohibition notice.

It could now be fined up to $3 million.

The authority laid the charges under the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011.

In a statement, the authority said it would allege the practice of allowing pressurized flammable gas to be left in enclosed vehicles was considered a "hazard" to the health and safety of workers and members of the public due to the risk of an explosion.

The authority has to prove that Arafura Plumbing engaged in conduct "without reasonable excuse" to secure a conviction.

Both companies will re-appear in court next month.

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