Engineering firm fined after worker hit by flying metal ring

HSElogoRed300The West Lothian engineering firm Oil States Klaper has been sentenced for safety failings after employee Kenneth Hunter was hit by a 400kg metal ring being propelled toward him under high pressure.

Livingston Sheriff Court was told this week that Mr Hunter was working on an annular, a type of blow out prevention (BOP) device used in the oil and gas industry to prevent pressure encountered during oil well drilling from breaching oil rig platforms.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated, said Mr Hunter stood on the BOP some two and a half metres above the ground in order to tighten jacking bolts. As he did, there was a loud bang and a locking ring weighing 400kg shot up with force, hit him in the face and upper body and threw him into the air before he landed on the floor with the ring on top of his legs.

HSE’s investigation revealed that Oil States Klaper had failed to provide an adequate safe system of work for the removal of the locking rings or ensure suitable measures were taken to prevent or control articles being ejected. The firm had also failed to ensure workers were adequately supervised while carrying out pressure testing.

The court heard that the company had failed to fully heed previous written advice from a number of HM Inspectors and Specialist HSE Inspectors regarding the hazardous nature of pressure testing.

Oil States Klaper was fined £40,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.

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About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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