• Robert Spicer

Offshore Death: Health And Safety Prosecution

Offshore death: £100,000 fine

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service v Bilfinger Salamis UK Ltd (2015) Aberdeen Sheriff Court, February 2

Bilfinger Salamis UK Ltd, an offshore services company, has been fined after a worker was killed on a North Sea platform.

Significant points of the case

  • In June 2011 Lee Bertram was working on a platform in the North Sea operated by the company.

  • He was using ropes to access dropped objects which could fall into the sea and potentially injure divers working below.

  • He successfully abseiled below the deck. As he was starting his ascent to the deck his abseil ropes sheared against the sharp edges of a hatch. He fell 23 metres to the sea below, striking steelwork as he fell. He suffered fatal injuries.

  • The job which the deceased was undertaking had not been properly planned and was contrary to industry guidelines and the company’s own procedures.

  • If the work had been properly planned, the edge of the hatch would have been identified as being sharp. The risk of rigged ropes coming into contact with it could have been prevented.

The company was fined £100,000 for a breach of regulation 4, Work at Height Regulations 2005, for failing to ensure that work at height was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a manner which was, so far as reasonably practicable, safe.

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