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Oil Giant Fined £1.4m after death of worker in refinery fire

Total UK Ltd has been fined £1.4 million and has been ordered to pay costs of £34,084.05 by Hull Crown Court. The case resulted from the death of an employee in a major fire in the Lindsay Oil Refinery in North Lincolnshire in 2010.

Ben Greenacre, 24, was a contracted fitter tasked with opening equipment beneath a distillation column containing hot crude oil. The crude oil was released and ignited shortly after, starting a large fire. A colleague who had been working with him was able to escape with minor burns, but Mr Greenacre could not get away and was killed.

The court heard that operators of major accident hazard establishments must have in place a functioning system of risk assessment for all tasks where hazardous substances could be released. High Court Judge Mrs Justice McGowan said the failings were “substantial, obvious, and avoidable”.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector John Moran said:

“If Total had followed well established principles of risk assessment this major fire and the subsequent fatal injury to Robert Greenacre could have been easily prevented (…)

“This tragic incident should serve as a reminder to all such operators that if they fail to assess the risks associated with even simple and routine maintenance tasks, the consequences can be severe, and irreparable to the people involved and their families”

If you have been affected by the issues in this article or by any accident at work, we can help you to understand all of your options. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation. For further information, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

Source: Health and Safety Executive

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