A North-East civil engineering company has been fined after an oil platform collapse resulted in a worker falling 15 metres and sustaining life-threatening injuries

Teesside Magistrates Court heard how on 31 July 2019, the worker was involved in the dismantling of the Brent Bravo, a former North Sea oil and gas platform, when the platform collapsed and the worker fell 15 metres.

Brent North Sea oil and gas field

The company in question, Able UK Limited, had been contracted to dismantle four platforms from the Brent North Sea oil and gas field. It was during the removal of a module located on the north west corner of the Brent Bravo Platform that the platform collapsed beneath the feet of the worker.

In the planning stage it had been noted that there were three platforms on the cellar deck of the structure that would need to be moved to allow the module to fall safely. However, it had not been acknowledged that one of the platforms did not form part of the main structure and was attached to the platform using bolts that had corroded over time.

The corroded bolts affected the structural integrity of the platform and the methodology required to remove it safely. This oversight meant that during the cutting of bracing beams, the platform collapsed causing one of the employees to fall 15 metres.

HSE: Failure to carry out structural appraisal

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the incident and reported that Able UK Limited failed to carry out a full structural appraisal of the platform prior to demolition. Had they made these checks, a better informed risk assessment and method statement would have been achieved and the work would have been carried out safely. The company has been sentenced after the worker fell 15 metres.

The company Able UK Limited of Able House, Billingham Reach Industrial Est, Haverton Hill Road, Cleveland, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of The Health and Safety at Work act 1974. They have been fined £200,000 with £20,991.24 costs by Teesside Magistrates Court.

HSE: Stability of structures must be considered before demolition

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Richard Littlefair said:

“When undertaking demolition work where structures are being left in a pre-weakened state, it is essential for those in control of the work to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of all those involved with the work.

“This includes ensuring that consideration is given to the stability of structures before and during demolition work, as well as ensuring that control measures are in place to mitigate other associated health and safety risks such as work at height.”

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