Provision of information
An oxygen valve in a badly ventilated part of HMS Glasgow, then
under construction, had been left open. The result was that the room
had then become oxygen enriched. Swan Hunter were the main
contractors but several others were involved. An employee of
Telemeter Installations, working alongside Swan Hunter employees was
preparing to do some arc welding. He struck the electric arc between
welding rod and work piece and immediately, due to the atmosphere, a
very intense fire broke out and eight men were killed.
Swan Hunter's safety officer knew of the fire risk connected with oxygen and prepared a 'blue book' for Swan Hunter employees and provided the information to their employees. However, they failed to distribute this information to Telemeter and other contractors and/or the employees of those other contractors. Swan Hunter was prosecuted and fined £3000, they appealed.
Conviction was upheld. Swan Hunter had a duty to ensure the health and safety of its own employees by the provision of information. If the ignorance of another company’s employees places its own employees at risk then it is the company’s duty, for the protection of its own employees, to inform the employees of another of any special risks within its knowledge.