Firm fined six-figure sum after worker injured in 45ft Hartlepool platform fall

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A civil engineering company has been fined a six-figure sum after a worker suffered life-threatening injuries by falling around 45ft when a platform unexpectedly collapsed.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard how the worker was involved in the dismantling of the Brent Bravo.

The giant former North Sea oil and gas platform attracted national attention when it was towed to Able UK’s Seaton Carew yard to be demolished in June 2019.

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The incident occurred the following month on July 31 during the removal of a module.

The Brent Bravo Oil Platform arriving at Able UK's Seaton yard in 2019. Picture by FRANK REIDThe Brent Bravo Oil Platform arriving at Able UK's Seaton yard in 2019. Picture by FRANK REID
The Brent Bravo Oil Platform arriving at Able UK's Seaton yard in 2019. Picture by FRANK REID

In planning for the removal, it was noted that there were three platforms on the cellar deck of the structure that would need to be moved to allow the module to fall safely.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said it was not recognised by the planning team that one of the platforms did not form part of the main structure and was attached to the platform using bolts that had corroded over time.

The HSE added: “This affected the structural integrity of the platform and the methodology required to remove it safely.”

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During the cutting of bracing beams, the platform unexpectedly collapsed, causing one of the employees to fall 15 metres.

An investigation into the incident found that Able UK failed to carry out a full structural appraisal of the platform prior to demolition.

The HSE said this should have ensured that the work could have been carried out safely.

Able UK, of Able House, Billingham Reach Industrial Estate, admitted breaching Regulation 2(1) of The Health and Safety at Work act 1974 and was fined £200,000 by the Middlesbrough court with £20,991.24p costs.

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After the hearing, HSE inspector Richard Littlefair said: “When undertaking demolition work where structures are being left in a pre-weakened state, it is essential for those in control of the work to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of all those involved with the work.

"This includes ensuring that consideration is given to the stability of structures before and during demolition work, as well as ensuring that control measures are in place to mitigate other associated health and safety risks such as work at height.”

Able afterwards said it had “undertaken a comprehensive review of our procedures”, adding: “We wish to apologise and continue to extend our support to the friend and colleague involved.”

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