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Shell Fined £1.2m Over Terminal Explosion Failings

Expert Calls For Safety Lessons To Be Learnt


A workplace safety expert at Irwin Mitchell has welcomed the fine handed down to Shell UK over the failings which led to the Bacton gas terminal explosion in 2008.

The company has been ordered to pay a fine £1 million and £242,000 in costs, after it admitted seven breaches of health and safety regulations in relation to the incident in Norfolk.

During the hearing at Ipswich Crown Court, the prosecutor claiming the firm’s management was “sleepwalking into danger” and suggesting that ten people could have been killed during the explosion and subsequent fire.

Among the faults found at the site were basic errors including the incorrect placement of temperature recorders.

David Urpeth, national head of workplace injury at Irwin Mitchell, represents clients who have been involved in serious industrial accidents and helped more than 75 workers and residents injured in the 2001 Killingholme refinery explosion in their battle for justice.

In that case, ConocoPhillips was also fined over £1 million for breaching safety regulations.

Commenting on the outcome of the Shell case, he said: “The evidence heard in court, as well as the massive resultant fine, demonstrate the seriousness of the safety failings which led to this major industrial accident.

“Incidents of this kind have a huge impact on a number of people, from workers and their families to the communities living close to major industrial plants.

“While those close to Bacton will undoubtedly welcome the fine, they will also welcome Shell’s reassurances that lessons have been learnt from the incident, including that improvements have been made in safety standards.

“We would urge other companies to pay close attention to the findings in this case and also ensure they are doing everything they can to guarantee that the safety of their workers is a fundamental priority.”