Firm Fined Following Death of Sub-contractor

Asphyxiation at Work


The death of a sub-contractor whose neck became trapped by a descending arm used to lift materials on a drilling rig has led to the prosecution of oil company Edeco Petroleum Services Ltd.

In 2005 Neil Millar was found dead and the firm, after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) and Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, was ordered to pay costs of £47,400 and fined £200,000 at Hull Crown Court.

Mr Millar died as a result of asphyxiation after a lifting arm, powered by a hydraulic ram descended and trapped his neck against a fixed beam.

HSE Inspector John Rowe highlighted the duty that employers have to ensure that workplace machinery is safely guarded and employees do not have access to exposed and dangerous moving parts.

He said: "The piece of machinery involved in the incident had been imported from Canada, and it had not been checked to ensure that it was safely guarded. If this had been done, then this tragic loss of life could have been avoided."

David Urpeth, a Partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "It was stated by HSE Inspector Mr Rowe that there has been a number of safety incidents of a less serious nature involving Edeco Petroleum Services. He believes that this indicated, that at times, standards of health and safety management fell well below what was required."