Dad’s horror: ‘Faulty’ vape blew up ‘like…


QLD News

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A former Gold Coast vape shop worker is considering legal action against the business after one of the devices exploded in his hands “like a pipe bomb”.

Hayden Murray, 39, a father of three, was in only his second day on the job at a local vape shop when he claims a customer handed him the “faulty’ e-cigarette to look at, only for it to blow up in his hands and cause third degree burns.

Mr Murray claims the store owner only showed him a pamphlet about the dangers of mechanical vapes after the incident.

The store’s co-owner said the vape that exploded had not been sold at the outlet, and her husband had told the man who brought it in that it was dangerous and to throw it out.

“My husband turned his back and Hayden started fiddling with it – even though he had witnessed my husband saying it was dangerous and to throw it away,” she said.

“He wouldn’t listen, he thought he was smarter. He touched it and next minute, he nearly burned the shop down.”

The incident happened in June after the former hotel manager and keen vaper left a 10-year hospitality career to take up the job as store manager at the vape shop.

He said a customer the owner had been serving minutes earlier returned to the shop shortly before closing time and told Mr Murray that the mechanical vape was faulty.

“He reached out to give me the vape and there was a big pop and straight away, the thing just blew up in my hands,” he said.

“It was like a pipe bomb. We were standing face-to-face and it went off like a flare. One end was just fireworks. The customer jumped back and left it with me in my hand. It exploded out between my fingers and kind of fused to my hand.

“I was kind of in shock and threw it across the shop. I realised it had just destroyed my hands, peeling off all my skin immediately. It burnt holes deep into the skin.”

Mr Murray said he ran to the back of the shop to put his hands under running water.

He said the store owner offered him panadol, ice to soothe the wound and offered to drive him to a medical centre but he told him: “Mate, this is a serious burn … call an ambulance.”

“I basically handled all of the first-aid myself,” Mr Murray said.

He said he was still “in shock” when the owner handed him a piece of paper detailing the dangers of “extremely volatile” mechanical vapes and asked him to sign it as acknowledgment.

“I was in shock with third degree burns but I still scribbled on the paper,” he said.

“I was only in my second day on the job and hadn’t been informed at all about how dangerous these machines could be and how many accidents there have been with them.

“I hadn’t received any OH&S training or evacuation training.”

Mr Murray was taken by ambulance to Gold Coast University Hospital and treated for serious burns.

He said despite having his hands in bandages, he returned to work the following week, needing to support his family including newborn twins.

He continued working until September when he claims the owner’s wife told him that business had slowed and they could no longer afford to keep him on.

The store’s co-owner said Mr Murray was “bitter and sour” at being sacked at being sacked for an allegation of misconduct.

She said the allegation had been reported to Queensland Health.

Mr Murray said the owner gave him a separation certificate stating he had broken the code of conduct.

Shine Lawyers Helensvale’s Emma Crawley said the firm was investigating whether Mr Murray had any legal recourse against the business.

“This type of vape is notorious for overheating, and we’ve seen here the damage they can cause in an instant. Clearly, tougher regulations need to be put in place to stop other people being injured by them in future,” she said.

“Employers need to ensure staff are properly trained and aware of the potential dangers involved, for any situation they may encounter in the workplace, to prevent accidents like this from happening.”

A number of people overseas have reportedly been seriously injured and even killed by exploding mechanical vapes.

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