Esso Fined Over Ship Worker's Death In Hampshire

Petrol giant Esso has been fined £100,000 over the death of a ship worker in Hampshire.

Esso Petroleum Company Limited and Bournemouth-based maintenance contractor Austin & Mclean Limited were today (16 December) ordered to pay joint fines and costs totalling £240,000 for safety failings relating to a worker death at a Hampshire refinery.

Juan Romero, 40, was killed on 30 August 2008 when a heavy fuel hose collapsed on top of him as he worked on a docked tanker at Esso's Fawley Marine Terminal.

A subsequent investigation by Hampshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that a safety critical component, known as a pad-eye, had corroded to such an extent that the jib supporting the hose failed, causing the hose and the jib to fall onto the tanker moored alongside.

Esso was sentenced for a single breach of the Provision and Use or Work Equipment Regulations 1998 for failing to ensure the jib was properly maintained and in good working order. The company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay a further £50,000 in costs.

Austin & Mclean Limited, which was responsible for thoroughly examining and maintaining lifting equipment at the refinery, was sentenced for breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £60,000 with £30,000 in costs.

Further charges against both parties were not proven or left to lie on file in the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) proceedings at Winchester Crown Court.

Speaking after sentencing, HSE Inspector Malcolm Whyatt, who investigated Mr Romero's death, commented:

"Juan Romero's tragic death was wholly avoidable had Esso and Austin & Mclean ensured the jib was in proper working order.

"The corroded pad-eye was an obvious defect that posed a clear risk, and the investigation established that it had been corroded for some time. Both parties failed in their duty of care to ensure it was identified, replaced and the jib made safe.

"They were both at fault and they both failed to provide the safety standards we expect."

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