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Safety issue at Shell Stanlow refinery

FROM A SHELL STANLOW INSIDER

I write to make people aware of an incident which happened recently at Stanlow refinery. A hydrogen sulphide leak had developed and an operator, using BA equipment, went onto the unit to investigate. While he was on the unit the BA set developed a problem and he hastily made an exit from the unit. Following the incident the operator submitted a safety report highlighting the failure of the set.

Shortly after the event the operator received a phone call at home from one of my colleagues who tried to persuade him to change his statement about the incident, and to say that the BA set had failed during the pre-use checks. By saying this he was told that the HSE would not need to be involved! The person who contacted the operator was Stuart Warburton, manager of fire and security department.

It concerns me that a man in such a position should demonstrate such disregard for the health, safety and ultimately lives of people who work for him either directly or indirectly.

It seems to be a sign of the times that people are prepared to try and prevent a true and thorough investigation by the HSE, which could prevent a future fatality, just to prevent both themselves and their department from looking bad. I would urge people who work for this man day to day or during emergency situations to think carefully about the value he seems to put on human lives.

Updated 20 Jan 10 with information from a different insider source…

The incident is genuine but don’t think the details of the phone call are correct. The operator was contacted but only for detail of the failure for the report.

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