Australia: 56-year-old worker dies at Ichthys construction site

A 56-year-old worker died at Inpex’s Ichthys construction site in Bladin Point, near Darwin, Australia, on Wednesday night.

NT (Northern Territories) WorkSafe, a division under the Department of the Attorney General and Justice, said on Thursday that investigation was underway into the death of the worker.

According to the regulatory agency, the incident occurred at approximately 8 p.m. local time, as the worker was undertaking work within a confined space. WorkSafe inspectors returned to Bladin Point on Thursday morning to continue the investigation. The Bladin Point facility is an onshore part of the Ichthys project, designed to receive gas from the Ichthys offshore field.

“The deceased was working in a confined space installing insulation within a tank when the incident occurred. A prohibition notice was issued at 3.00 a.m. [Thursday] stopping all insulation work within tanks on the Bladin Point Construction Site,” WorkSafe said.

Previous media reports claimed the fatality was a result of falling from a great height or falling from a height after breaking through temporary flooring. Worksafe dismissed the reports as misleading and incorrect

Inpex, the project operator, reportedly said that the death of the worker, identified as Carl Delaney, was the result of a “serious incident” and that no construction activity would be performed at the site on Thursday. The workers returned to the construction site on Friday.

In a statement on Friday, the company said that the suspended work on Thursday was out of respect for the worker, an employee of Whittens, and to allow on-site investigation.

Whittens is subcontracted to Kawasaki Heavy Industries, a subcontractor of JKC Australia LNG – the lead construction contractor at the Bladin Point site.

Not the first incident

According to a timeline of events reported by NT News, the Inpex Ichthys gas project at Bladin Point has had trouble before.

Incidents at the site started in November 2014 when two men were hurt in a car crash. In February the following year, a 43m exhaust stack being lifted by two cranes was dropped, fortunately with no injuries.

In September 2015, unionist Paul Kirby claimed workers were pushed to the point of fatigue to make up for lost time and managers were “fudging” safety figures on the Inpex project.

New incidents happened in March this year, two in two days to be exact. Namely, an electrician was taken to hospital after a compressor hose broke free and punctured his leg and the other incident saw 11 workers exposed to ammonia vapor.

Inpex reportedly had another incident earlier this month when a worker slipped through scaffolding while working on one of the cryogenic tanks but was reportedly caught by colleagues.

Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Inpex for an official statement and we will update the article if and when we receive a response.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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