Father witnesses two sons killed moving an Oxygen cylinder

Don KinneyCylinder Training Services

Persons and facilities take the use and care of cylinders for granted. Gas cylinders are built to very high standards and function well in normal operating conditions. When they are used in day-to-day operations, they function as designed, and rarely cause a hazard. However, with this safety record, cylinders are taken for granted. Since nothing has ever happened, why should something happen during a basic task? Basic cylinder safety principals and training can be overlooked or disregarded.

In July of 2020, a father had taken his two sons, 20 and 22 years old, to a job site. While he was performing some repairs inside the facility, his two sons waited in the car. The plant manager saw the two men sitting in the car and asked them to help move an oxygen cylinder. The two young men complied and began moving the cylinder. The subsequent explosion killed both the young men and injured two other employees at the facility.


When emergency crews arrived, they had to search the area to recover the remains of the two young men. The father fainted when he saw the recovered body parts of his sons. During the subsequent investigation, the father blamed the plant manager for the deaths of his two sons.

It appeared the plant manager was simply asking for some help moving a heavy object. The manager disregarded that the heavy object was a hazardous material containing thousands of pounds (hundreds of BAR) of a pressurized gas. Toppling or dropping such a cylinder can damage the valve or body of the cylinder. This damage can result in a catastrophic failure. If the two unsuspecting young men were made aware of the possibility of a catastrophic failure, they might not be so willing to help a person in need. Or, at the very least, they may have handled the cylinder in a different manner.

The plant manager, if he did not take cylinder safety for granted, may not have asked untrained volunteers to assist in moving the cylinder the plant manager should have known or been trained in the hazards of compressed gases. The facility should have instilled rules that only allowed those familiar with the hazards to be involved in moving hazardous material.

The father blames the plant manager for the death of his two sons. The responding first responders, due to the two fatalities and the two injuries, opened an investigation. The facility and its manager will need to explain the facilities safety procedures and training protocols. It is doubtful that any procedures involved using volunteer labor to move a hazardous material.

Facilities and employees can not take gas cylinders for granted. Any facility or employee must ensure that anyone handling a compressed gas has been properly trained and is using safe handling techniques. They need safety protocols and training programs in place to remind everyone of the hazards of compressed gas cylinders. Basic safety training goes a long way in preventing injuries and fatalities. The father would not have had to see his two sons dismembered bodies if such programs would have been in place at this facility.

Don Kinney

Don Kinney

I enjoy continuing to build the business based on safety since 1999. CTS focuses on the inspection of high pressure cylinders, the maintaining of the valves and basic maintenance of high pressure compressor systems. CTS stays current in techniques and tools to train both the new and novice employee. We publish articles, update training tools and have created an APP to assist during the inspection process.
#cylinder #safety #hazmat #training #cylinderinspectiontraining #cylindex

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Nathaniel Taylor

    Wow! How sad.

  2. Colin


    What was the Root cause of this incident? Dropping a cylinder is a common occurrence at many manufacturer sites without these devastating consequences! Do not get me wrong I am in no manner trying to take away from the seriousness and heartache of the event, however when anyone in the compressed gas industry reads this I think there are many unanswered questions.

    More detail if possible please?

    1. Don Kinney


      I agree, which is why I wrote the article reference this incident. The problem is it was a news report. The problem with news reports is that they give the basics, but no specifics. I take the article and highlight the basic issue, without naming names. I try to follow through, but many times it is buried in legal or criminal files. In this case, I can only guess, but assume extreme levels of corrosion. I tried to make the point of training people of what to look for and not asking untrained people for help. I will forward the article to your email address.

  3. Ruth

    Hi I researched this and cannot find the actual article. Can you post it? This is circulating on ScubaBoard but no article and there seems to be some discrepancies.

    1. Don Kinney


      I provided the article link under one of the responses in SCUBABOARD (don’t remember which one). But, I will send you a direct email with a copy of the article. Thanks for taking the the time to ask and not assume 🙂

  4. Robert Lawrence

    Hello Don.
    I am in gas safety training in South Africa, I would like to see that article if possible pressure kills but people dont understand unless they have been properly trained.
    The article would be a good discussion in our level 3 gas safety training.

    1. Don Kinney

      I will get you the article and send it to you via E-mail.

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