According to data provided by the company, one technician rolled what he thought was an empty cylinder and took off a protective cap, however the cylinder was in fact fully charged which caused an uncontrolled release of gas and a loud bang – resulting in the technician dropping the cylinder which caused the valve to shear, with projectiles severely injuring a second technician.
An investigation from the Health and Safety Executive found the company had failed to take appropriate steps to ensure the risks related to handling of pressurised cylinders were eliminated.
The company failed to remove pressurised cylinders which were not safe for use and had not provided information in respect to safe handling of energised gas cylinders.
Imposing a sentence, Sheriff Jack Brown said the level of culpability the company bore for the indicent was “medium.”
Speaking after the hearing of 3 August, HSE inspector David Josiah said:
This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standard.
Duncan Manning, Shell’s Brent Asset manager, said:
Shell deeply regrets the accident and the injuries sustained by the individuals involved. We subsequently made a number of safety improvements on the platform and more widely across our upstream business. We work in a hazardous environment where safety is our top priority.