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Shell is fined over accident at oil refinery

Times Online

The Times

January 5, 2010

Michael Herman

Shell and two of its contractors were fined a combined £283,000 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) yesterday over an accident at an oil refinery that left a worker paralysed from the waist down.

The HSE said the accident at the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, in 2007, in which a 500-kilogram container fell 30ft on to a walkway, was “totally avoidable”. The container of waste material landed on Stephen Rizzotti, 42 — who was employed by a Shell contractor as a manager at the refinery — breaking his back, pelvis and both legs, and leaving him wheelchair-bound.

Shell UK Oil Products was fined £116,000 and ordered to pay costs of £16,000 after pleading guilty at Warrington Crown Court to contravening the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

Dalprop, the contractor that employed Mr Rizzotti, and Hertel, both Shell contractors at Stanlow, were each fined £83,000 plus costs.

Shell said: “Following the incident, Shell and its contracting companies co-operated fully with the HSE and we have taken steps to improve our way of working to prevent a recurrence. This was a tragic accident where systems failed to provide a safe working environment for Mr Rizzotti on the day.”

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