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An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found multiple failings leading up to the gangway fall incident which led it to launch the prosecution. The court heard numerous failings included:
failed to carry out a sufficient risk assessment of the use and operation of the access tower, with the result that the dangers of jamming, slack cable, and personnel accessing the walkway without engaging the scotching pin were neither identified or addressed and the hierarchy of risk control was not applied
failed to provide adequate information, instruction and training to employees as to the safe use and operation of the access tower
failed to carry out adequate investigations into the previous and related incidents of September 2011, February 2011 and, in particular, August 2010
failed to review the check-list risk assessment in light of those incidents
failed to act on the recommendations of their inspection contractor, particularly in respect of the jamming problem and the absence of any access gate interlock and ignored comments on one report of their that there was a ‘’potential fatal accident waiting to happen’’.
failed to install any means of detection or prevention of slack cable in the mechanism
failed to detect that the access tower was neither CE marked, nor subject to a Declaration of Conformity, as required.
Judge Peter Heywood sitting at Swansea Crown Court heard the Berth 6 access tower walkway that provided gangway access to a stationary tanker vessel on 5 March 2012 had dropped 3.5 metres, causing operator David Thomas to be trapped by a slack wire rope.
He suffered fractures and lacerations to both legs and a dislocated knee.