Wayne Meeten suffers gas explosion in workshop


Master Craftsman urges industry colleagues to re-check gas safety

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Internationally renowned silversmith Wayne Meeten has urged his fellow craftsmen to take care and re-check their workshop gas set up after he experienced a devastating explosion in his studio.

The experienced craftsman, who a multi award winning, was  severely injured in his studio from a faulty regulator that was brand new.

Hes said exclusively to Benchpeg:

"I had know idea it was faulty regulator, as it was brand new. The technician at the store gave me wrong type. I had bought a complete new system and had it put together by a team of specialists. One did the compressor, one did the torches. I screwed on the regulator, as I had done this all my career life."

Meeten suffered burns after a faulty new regulator on a large propane gas bottle caused his new gas torch to explode in his face and hands.

The Air Ambulance, Fire Brigade and ground crew were all dispatched to the scene where Meeten was administered three separate doses of morphine in order to quell the pain, which the silversmith described as “off the scale”.

When speaking to Benchpeg Wayne commended:

“I feel if you could share this with your many followers this may stop one accident in the future.

We are all guilty of taking our gas torches, bottles, hoses for granted. But there is a time when this equipment is out of date, and obsolete... even dangerous. I feel it maybe appropriate to share [my experience] in that this is what could happen, even [to] a person who is mid through their career and this is what happened to me. If I can help one person it will be worth it.”

The accident caused severe burns to his head and face, his eye lashes and eye brows were burnt off. The end of his nose, cheeks, lips were all severely burnt as well as the illustrated burns to his hands and arms which are shown after 12 weeks of treatment. After attendance on the scence, Meeten was admitted in to hospital overnight in intensive care where the doctors monitored his condition.

He said,

“If I had breathed in the flames [during the explosion], well, I wouldn’t be here to warn others.

I should have had low pressure regulator, and was supplied with high pressure. I now have to deal with solicitors and lawyers. Not something I really want to do.

The {accident} inspector shared [with me} that if one had gone up ( bottle ), it would have taken out my studio, my house, and 100 meter radius. Killing all in the vicinity."

Meeten wants to ensure that no one goes through the experience that he did, and has issued this plea:

“Please, I beg you to listen. If any of you have cracks in your torch hoses, not the correct colour hoses for the right gas bottles, no blow back valves on your torches,  the incorrect regulator on the gas bottles…

Do check your set up with a correct qualified gas inspector. Your insurance may not be valid. But more important, your life maybe in danger without realising.

If you are able too, do put the bottles outside your unit, studio, or workshop in a cage, and chained to the wall and padlocked. Have copper pipes going through your wall, then into flexible hoses. With a flashback arrestor and stop off valve.

I’m lucky to be alive, and I would not want this to happen to any other craftsman using gas. I urge you all to check your equipment, update the plastic, rubber hoses as they have a life span that may be out of date. It is recommended to check every year!"


Rebecca van Rooijen


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