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Workers 'told not to cut open tank' before fatal Black Country explosion

By Jamie Brassington | Darlaston | News | Published:

Workers had been told not to touch a methanol tank at a factory where an explosion later left a labourer dead, a jury inquest heard.

KTC Edibles

Raymond Wyman, 34, died after suffering serious injuries at KTC Edibles, in Heath Road, Darlaston.

Mr Wyman, of Dudley, was found by colleagues next to the upturned tank on October 31, 2016.

He died in hospital eight days later.

The inquest heard Mr Wyman was part of a small team of labourers, working for NKD Machinery, who were tasked with clearing industrial plants from the site, which had been taken over by KTC Edibles.

Devan Hari, 26, younger brother of NKD’s project manager, Nitesh, recalled the briefing given to staff that morning.

He told Black Country Coroners Court two tanks were on site – filled with nitrogen and methanol – but staff were told not to touch the methanol one.

The clearance team needed to strip down the nitrogen tank for its copper and aluminium, over fears the metal could be stolen by thieves, the court heard.

Devan Hari told the court: “It was made clear 100 per cent to touch the nitrogen tank.

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“Nitesh did say that, in the future, the methanol tank needed taking out. But specialist people needed to come out for that.

“My understanding was we needed to concentrate on the nitrogen tank and get the copper and aluminium.

"The copper is worth some money. It might have been stolen. It was made clear not to touch the methanol tank.”

Devan Hari was not on site when the explosion happened. But he recalled receiving a phone call from Nitesh, at around 5pm, saying there had been "an accident" on site.

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The inquest resumed this week after it was adjourned when allegations were made at a previous hearing which needed further discussion.

Another witness was Kishan Hari, father of Devan, who recalled hearing screams of "help" after the explosion.

Kishan Hari, who was not a paid staff member but was present on the day in a supervisory role, was at the other side of the site when the tank exploded.

He told the court: "I heard someone shout 'help, help'. I just remember Ray was on the floor doing nothing, he was against the wall."

At an earlier court hearing, Nitesh hari said that Mr Wyman was given clear instructions to work on the nitrogen tank.

The jury inquest continues.

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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