Hazardous area heaters could have helped to prevent a 2011 incident which left a man ablaze until his colleagues were able to extinguish the flames.

In the incident, a shed had been left closed with a pressure washer running inside, despite written instructions that the machine must always be well ventilated.

When a 49-year-old employee opened the door of the shed, a cloud of dense smoke inside caught light, creating a flashover which, in turn, set fire to the man.

His colleagues put out the flames on his back, but the man was hospitalised for eight days and off work for two months, with further absences arising from his trauma even several years later.

Importantly, the reasons why the incident happened at all were totally avoidable – the washer had been left running indoors in an attempt to defrost it.

This led to it being closed in the shed to warm up while still running, with its pressure washer hose disconnected, all of which contributed to the dense cloud forming.

Hazardous area heaters could have safely supplied an external source of heat, without the risk of ignition – and potentially may have prevented the traumatic injuries sustained in the incident too.