An oil refinery company was sentenced today for safety breaches after flammable butane gas was released when valves were left open.
Grimsby Magistrates’ court heard that, in March 2015 following a planned shutdown for maintenance at Total Lindsey Oil Refinery Ltd, a high point vent on a butane line had been left open. This resulted in a loss of around 50 tonnes of butane.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that, although new pipework had been connected by a contractor, the whole line was not checked to ensure it had been re-instated properly and all valves closed. In addition, it should have been pressure tested to ensure it was ready to re-introduce flammable substances.
Total Lindsey Oil Refinery Ltd of Eastfield Road North Killingholme in North Lincolnshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 and was fined £400,000.00 with £15,794.85 costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Steven Kay commented: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.
“Companies should have effective management procedures in place to ensure all hazards are properly identified.”