ACT News

A Summernats worker is in hospital with facial burns after an accident with fuel

A Summernats worker suffered burns to his face after fuel he was handling sparked a small explosion and fire.

The accident occurred last Thursday evening and the man was treated at the scene by emergency workers before being transferred to Canberra Hospital, where he remained in a stable condition until he was discharged on Monday.

A driver takes part in the Burnout Championship finals at Canberra Summernats.
A driver takes part in the Burnout Championship finals at Canberra Summernats. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

The worker has returned home to Wollongong.

ACT work safety commissioner Mark McCabe said the accident was still being investigated. But the worker was extremely lucky not to have sustained more serious injuries.

It is believed the man was was extracting methanol from a drum using a plastic funnel and container at the fuelling point near the stables at EPIC last Thursday at 6.50pm.

A flash ignition occurred, burning his face – mainly his forehead.


A small grass fire was also ignited but was quickly extinguished.

"Although the individual was lucky not to suffer more serious injuries, the fact that the impact of the incident was contained quite quickly and no patrons or other individuals were at risk is a tribute to the procedures the event organisers had in place," Mr McCabe said.

WorkSafe issued an improvement notice for a small change to the safety procedures, requiring workers to wear personal protective equipment at the refuelling station.

The WorkSafe investigation is continuing to try and ascertain what caused the spark.

Summernats general manager Russell Avis said organisers were also keen to establish the cause of the accident "to ensure it doesn't happen again".

Mr Avis said the worker was in good spirits and he praised first-aid workers who responded on the evening.

"It could have been a bad accident. And you don't want to test these things but our safety processes all kicked into place, and it was a good result in the end," Mr Avis said.

He said safety procedures at the refuelling station had been under continuous assessment in co-operation with WorkSafe, and the policy to wear protective clothing had been implemented permanently by Friday morning.

"We updated our standards immediately."