Shell UK fined after technician struck by cylinder10 August 2018

Oil firm Shell UK Limited has been fined for health and safety breaches after a technician was struck by a cylinder and left injured on the Brent Delta offshore installation.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how, on 10 November 2014, technicians were required to replace a gas cylinder within a system used to extinguish fires.

One of the technicians rolled what he thought was an empty cylinder along the floor and took off the protective cap, but he then realised that it was a fully charged cylinder. The trigger mechanism on the cylinder was activated causing a loud bang and the 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 that struck and severely injured a second technician.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation and found the company failed to take suitable and sufficient steps to ensure risks associated with handling of pressurised cylinders were eliminated.

The HSE also found that the company failed to remove pressurised cylinders that were not suitable for use in a safe and secure manner and failed to ensure the provision of appropriate information and instruction in respect of the handling and use of energised 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. It was fined £60,000.

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.”

Adam Offord

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