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LIFTING OPERATION INJURES WORKMAN

Workman paralysed after refinery lifting operations goes wrong

Three companies have been ordered to pay over £300k in fines and prosecution costs after a man was paralysed from the waist down while working on a refurbishment project at a Shell oil refinery in Cheshire.

In February 2007 Stephen Rizzotti was working on a project removing part of the concrete lining of the ‘cracker’ unit, where crude oil is processed.

Mr Rizzotti suffered a broken back, two broken legs, a broken pelvis and other injuries when a container carrying 500kg of waste materials fell 30 feet on top of him. The court heard that the incident was “caused by the materials being suspended above a walkway”.

HSE Inspector Alan Graham said: “This incident was totally avoidable and has had a devastating impact on Mr Rizzotti and his family. The scaffolding should have been constructed so that the lifting equipment was away from areas where people had to walk. The landing area should also have been suitably protected.”

Mr Rizzotti said: “I can’t remember anything about what happened. Half a dozen people had gone into the building before me but then, as I went in, the waste materials fell on top of me. It was touch and go at first but thanks to the doctors I survived. Now I have to get on with my life in a wheelchair. I have a simple message for all companies – safety has to be paramount.”

The companies were prosecuted under Regulation 8(1)(c) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

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