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WIND FARM HIGH FINE FROM ‘NEW’ PROSECUTION SYSTEM

Workman struck by craned load on wind turbine resulted in leg amputation

Talisman Energy (UK) Ltd and Scaldis Salvage and Marine Contractors B.V. have been fined a total of £243,750 after a workman suffered serious injury. The incident occured on 25 August 2006 during construction of the Beatrice Windfarm Turbine B offshore in the Moray Firth.

Alexander Murray, 48, from Aberdeen, was standing on a partly completed structure when he was struck by another element being lowered into place by crane from a heavy lift vessel. The load crushed his left leg and required subsequent amputation of his leg

Joint working resulted in pleas of guilt

The case was investigated by HSE and reported to with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division. Specialist prosecutors from that Division prepared the case for prosecution and brought the case to court. A guilty plea was tendered from the two companies.

Following the case, Elaine Taylor, Head of the COPFS Health and Safety Division, said:

“Working alongside colleagues in the HSE, our specialist prosecutors use their experience and expertise to meet the challenges of these complex and serious cases.

In this case, as a result of this joint working, both companies pled guilty which meant that the case was resolved without the case proceeding to trial and witnesses being required to give evidence. This wholly avoidable incident has had a devastating effect on Mr Murray’s life .

Following the case, HSE Principal Inspector Marc Nunn said:

“The case demonstrates the importance of adequately planning and assessing the risks, and implementing sensible management controls, for all lifting activities.

Both Talisman and Scaldis should reasonably have foreseen the potential for the load to move, and taken measures to prevent their personnel being exposed to the hazards of a swinging load.”

Comment

This is a substantial fine arising from a non-fatal injury. The level of health and safety prosecution fines in Scotland have in the past been lower than those south of the border. Perhaps the new system of prosecution, introduced in Scotland in 2009, is starting to take effect.

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