$1,000,000 in fines for Scottish Confined Space Fatalities

 Confined Space News, In the Courts  Comments Off on $1,000,000 in fines for Scottish Confined Space Fatalities
Aug 012011

Two companies have been fined a total of £640,000 following the death of two fish farm workers on a barge moored at a salmon farm on Loch Creran, Argyll & Bute.

Scottish Sea Farms worker, Campbell Files and engineer Arthur Raikes – employed by Logan Inglis Limited, Cumbernauld – were fixing a hydraulic crane on the barge when they went below deck to find cabling and pipework.

The oxygen levels below deck were very low and Mr Files passed out while Mr Raikes managed to climb back out. In an attempt to rescue Mr Files, two colleagues, Maarten Den Heijer and Robert MacDonald entered the small chamber below deck but lost consciousness almost immediately.

The three men needed to be rescued by emergency services but only Mr Files recovered, while his colleagues died at the scene.

Following the incident on 11 May 2009, inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered Scottish Sea Farms had not provided suitable information, instruction and training for employees working in the small sealed chambers on the Loch Creran barge or a safe way for them to work.

Logan Inglis Limited had not provided information, instruction or training for their engineers on working in these confined spaces so Mr Raikes was also not aware of the risks he faced on the barge.

Neither company had identified the risk to their respective employees from working in the confined space chambers.

At Oban Sheriff Court today (4 July) Scottish Sea Farms, was fined £600,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Logan Inglis Limited of 14 Dunswood Road, Wardpark South, also pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £40,000.

Commenting at the conclusion of the case HSE Principal Inspector Barry Baker said:

“These two men were trying to help save their colleague’s life when they tragically lost their own. Aquaculture is an important industry in Scotland and one that we can be very proud of; however we must not forget that the marine environment is dangerous and unforgiving.

“Since September 2007 the Marine Accident Investigation Branch has started three investigations into incidents in which a total of six seafarers have died in confined spaces.

“The deaths in this case should have been avoided – the risks should have been identified and a clear and safe system of work prepared. Only those fully trained in confined space work and emergency rescue should have carried out the work in the chamber, and only after a full risk assessment including air monitoring and testing for oxygen levels.”

Alberta stage collapse leads to charges

 Fall Protection News, In the Courts, Scaffolding News  Comments Off on Alberta stage collapse leads to charges
Jul 292011

Edmonton… A total of 33 charges have been laid against three companies related to the 2009 stage collapse at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose.

Premier Global Production Company Inc., 1073732 Alberta Ltd., and Panhandle Productions Ltd. face charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The charges follow a provincial government investigation into an August 1, 2009 incident at the Big Valley Jamboree when the main stage collapsed during a wind storm. Several workers were injured and one spectator died.
Premier Global Production Company Inc. and Panhandle Productions Ltd. each face six counts of failing to ensure the health and safety of their workers on site, and six additional counts of failing to ensure the health and safety of other workers present.

1073732 Alberta Ltd., being a contractor directing the activities of Premier Global Production Company Ltd., faces six counts of failing to ensure that the employer complied with the OHS Act.

In addition, Premier Global Production Company Inc. is charged with:

Failing to ensure that equipment was of sufficient size, strength, design and made of suitable materials to withstand stresses imposed on it during its operation and to perform the function for which it is intended or designed.
Failing to ensure rigging was not subjected to a load of more than 20 per cent of the ultimate breaking strength of the weakest part of the rigging unless the manufacturer has fatigue rated the rigging in accordance with standards.
Also, Panhandle Productions Ltd, as the prime contractor of a work site, is charged with failing to ensure that the OHS Act was complied with at the work site.
The first court appearance for all three companies will be September 28, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. in Camrose Provincial Court. The maximum penalty for a first offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act is $500,000 and/or six months in prison for each charge. For more information on workplace health and safety in Alberta call 1-866-415-8690 toll-free, 780-415-8690 in Edmonton, or visit employment.alberta.ca/ohs.

Inspection of the 2011 Big Valley Jamboree work site resulted in no compliance issues.