Oil rig firm fined after accident

Oil rig firm fined after accident 25532

A West Lothian engineer could be entitled to a heft compensation package after his employers were fined for a number of safety failings that have left him with permanent scarring.

Kenneth Hunter, a 33-year-old local man, was working for Oil States Klaper at its site in Bathgate in Scotland on May 25th 2011 when the accident happened.

The employee climbed on top of a blowout prevention device (BOP), which is used in the oil and gas industry to prevent excessive pressure from building up and causing a spill, so he could tighten a number of bolts as part of a maintenance programme.

As he did this, a loud bang was heard by colleagues, who saw Mr Hunter sent flying after being hit by a 400kg metal ring that was propelled towards him.

The man was rushed to hospital where doctors found he had life threatening injuries to his chest and face and he had to undergo extensive surgery to repair severe fractures to his face and collar bone.

Mr Hunter has been left with permanent scarring injuries to his body and has only been able to return to work this year.

A subsequent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Oil States Klaper had failed to heed previous advice from a number of HM inspectors regarding the hazardous nature of pressure testing.

It was also discovered the firm did not provide adequate supervision or a safe system of work.

Oil States Klaper pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 was fined £40,000.

After the trial, HSE inspector Kerry Cringan said: "Oil States Klaper failed to plan the work to ensure that there was no pressure in vessels before removing any parts of those vessels.

"In addition, they did not take suitable precautions to keep people away from vessels under pressure, or to contain parts that could be ejected if the pressure released."

By Francesca Witney