A refinery firm has been fined thousands of pounds after a worker fell more than three metres from a walkway.
Valero Energy UK Limited was fined £400,00 at Swansea Crown Court after an accident at its Pembroke Refinery.
Worker David Thomas was walking along a walkway that linked to an oil tanker.
As he traversed the walkway, it dropped 3.5 metres causing Mr Thomas to be trapped by a slack wire rope.
During the incident, he suffered a number of fractures, cuts to both legs and a dislocated knee.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that multiple failings occurred before the incident.
It revealed that a risk assessment had failed to be carried out, and that training was insufficient. Previous incidents at the place of work also hadn’t been investigated properly and many of the recommendations after these events have not been implemented.
Valero Energy UK Ltd pleaded guilty to a single charge of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at a previous hearing. It was fined £400 000 and ordered to pay costs of £60 614.
HSE inspector, Andrew Knowles said: “It was particularly disappointing to find that although the company knew there had been problems with the operation of the access tower, the company had failed to investigate these properly and had relied on changes to instructions, rather than taking action to modify the defective hardware, as required by the hierarchy of risk control.”
He says he would usually expect problems with a walkway to be taken more seriously and investigated, with suitable corrective actions implemented.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: October 3, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown