A WORKER was badly burned after being told to remove the top of a propane gas tank with a disc cutter, a court heard.

The 29-year-old – who was in his boss’s house – suffered injuries to his arm and body after flammable gases caught fire.

The incident occurred at the home of company director Jamie Jewell, who was told to pay more than £4,000 in fines and costs.

It followed an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which says the employee was lucky not to have been killed.

The worker, who lives in Winchester, had to take three weeks off work and was restricted to light duties for a further month.

Southampton magistrates heard that Jewell did not know enough about the hazards of handling propane gas to carry out the work competently or supervise others.

Jewell, a director of Totton-based Suffix Pre-Cast, admitted breaching the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. He was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,451.

The incident, which involved a full tank of propane gas, occurred at Jewell’s Calmore home on September 2 last year.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Ray Kelly said: “This incident should never have happened and it was only a matter of good fortune that the worker was not killed.

“It was irresponsible of the defendant to take an employee to his house.”