BP fined £650,000 for the death of a worker who fell from an oil rig into the sea

Oil and gas company BP has been fined £650,000 after a worker fell to his death through an open grate on one of its offshore platforms.

Sean Anderson, 43, suffered fatal injuries when he fell into the sea from the bottom deck of BP’s Unity facility in September 2014.

The BP Exploration Operating Company was found guilty of a health and safety breach after an eight-day trial at Aberdeen bailiff’s court which ended on July 14.

Sean Anderson. Photo: AP

The company failed to have adequate and sufficient control measures regarding the open vents on the lower deck, the court heard.

Anderson fell through the open grate around 4 a.m. and was found face down in the water by a fast rescue craft after the alarm went off. Despite attempts to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead and the cause of death was recorded as head and chest injuries.

Debbie Carroll, of the Prosecutor’s Crown and Fiscal Service, Scotland’s death investigation authority, said: “Sean Anderson’s death was entirely preventable and could have been prevented if BP had taken all reasonably practicable precautions.

“His death and the risk of fatal injuries to which others were exposed cannot be underestimated. There were serious deficiencies in the safety arrangements made around the management of the open vents that BP should have identified.”

She said BP “could have done more to address the risks shown by changes in procedures after the incident. Our thoughts are with Mr. Anderson’s family at this time.”

Anderson, from the Tyne and Wear area, was employed by industrial services company Cape and was part of a team performing routine maintenance on the Unity rig, 97 miles off the coast of Aberdeen in Scotland.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said: “BP failed in its duty to have adequate and sufficient control measures in respect of open gratings on the platform. Ultimately, these failures resulted in the death of Mr. Anderson. Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Mr. Anderson.”

A BP spokesman said: “We acknowledge the outcome of the legal proceedings. This was a tragic incident. While we know nothing can be said to change the pain felt by Sean Anderson’s family and friends, our deepest sympathies remain with them to this day.”

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