Shell to pay £60000 for Brent Delta accident

Shell has to pay £60000 for a 2014 safety incident that saw a worker severely injured aboard the Brent Delta oil platform in the UK North Sea.

Aerial photography of Shell’s Brent Delta Platform in the Northern North Sea (2006) Copyright: Shell International Ltd

The company was on Friday fined for health and safety breaches after a worker was struck by a cylinder and left severely injured at the platform which was at the time undergoing decommissioning.

The accident, which resulted from the uncontrolled discharge of a pressurized nitrogen cylinder, involved three contractors, one of whom received a medical evacuation by helicopter to hospital in Shetland. According to Shell, there were 160 Personnel on Board at the time of the incident.

In a statement last week HSE UK said that Aberdeen Sheriff Court had heard how, on November 10, 2014, technicians were required to replace a gas cylinder within a system used to extinguish fires.

When one of the technicians rolled what he thought was an empty cylinder along the floor and took off the protective cap, he realized that it was a fully charged cylinder.

The trigger mechanism on the cylinder was activated causing a loud bang and the instantaneous release of the cylinder contents in a white cloud of concentration.

The force of the gas release caused the technician to drop the cylinder to the floor causing a valve to shear. This resulted in both cylinder and valve becoming projectiles which struck and severely injured a second technician..

The force of the gas release caused the technician to drop the cylinder to the floor causing a valve to shear. This resulted in both cylinder and valve becoming projectiles which struck and severely injured a second technician.

Easily avoidable

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said its investigation into the incident found Shell failed to take suitable and sufficient steps to ensure risks associated with the handling of pressurized cylinders were eliminated.

The company, HSE said, also failed to remove pressurized cylinders which were not suitable for use in a safe and secure manner and also failed to ensure the provision of appropriate information and instruction in respect of the handling and use of energized gas cylinders.

Shell UK Limited of Shell Centre, London pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £60,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David Josiah said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. “Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standard.

Commenting on the fine and the incident, Duncan Manning, Shell’s Brent Asset Manager, said: “Shell deeply regrets the accident and the injuries sustained by the individuals involved. We subsequently made a number of safety improvements on the platform and more widely across our upstream business.”

“We work in a hazardous environment where safety is our top priority. Shell is determined to deliver safe operations in all phases from production through to decommissioning to ensure that everyone returns home safely at the end of the day. To do this we recognize we must continue to invest and learn lessons at every opportunity.”

The Brent Delta platform was located at the Brent field, 116 miles Northeast of Lerwick in the North Sea. The topside of the platform has since been lifted and moved onshore at the Able yard, and is in the process of being recycled. The platform ceased production in 2011.

 

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