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Esso and Austin & Mclean Ltd plead guilty to Health and Safety offences in relation to worker's death

28/06/2013

Gaon Hart, Senior Crown Advocate for the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: "Juan Quintanilla Romero died tragically and unnecessarily on 30 August 2008 when a fuel pipe collapsed on him as he worked on a fuel tanker docked at Fawley Refinery, Southampton."

"Today Esso Petroleum Company Limited pleaded guilty at Winchester Crown Court to one count relating to the maintenance of the crane, under s.33 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.

"This offence properly reflects the criminality involved and provides the court with suitable sentencing powers. The prosecution has therefore accepted this plea. One other health and safety offence in relation to Esso Petroleum Company Limited will lie on file, while the prosecution will offer no evidence with regard to three others.

"Austin & Mclean Limited, the company responsible for the maintenance of the steel cranes, known as jibs, that carried the fuel pipes, pleaded guilty to a health and safety offence in relation to Mr Romero's death on 6 June 2013 at Winchester Crown Court. This offence, under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work  etc Act, was for failing to ensure that non-employees such as Mr Romero, who was a seaman working on board a docked ship, were not exposed to risk at the marine terminal. Another charge of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees will lie on file.

"I hope these convictions remind other companies and individuals who own and control the maintenance of cranes that the public rely heavily on their expertise to keep them safe from harm and that the CPS will diligently prosecute those who fail to meet this responsibility.

"I offer my sincerest condolences to the family of Mr Romero. Both companies will be sentenced later this year."

Background information

  • Juan Antonio Quintanilla Romero (born 8/2/1968) was from Honduras.

Austin and McLean Limited were originally charged with:

  • Gross negligence manslaughter against the company (corporate manslaughter under the common law) (Discontinued)
  • Failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees resulting from their duty under section 2 and contrary to section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. (Lie on File)
  • Failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of non-employees resulting from their duty under section 3 and contrary to section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. (Pleaded Guilty)

Discontinued charge of corporate manslaughter under the common law

Having reviewed new witness statements provided in the case, the CPS concluded there is no longer sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction of Austin & McClean for corporate manslaughter. We consulted Mr Romero's family on this decision and have now offered no evidence in relation to this charge.

Austin and McLean Limited has pleaded guilty to:

  • Failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of non-employees resulting from their duty under section 2 and contrary to section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Esso Petroleum Company Limited were originally charged with:

  • Failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees resulting from their duty under section 2 and contrary to section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. (Offer no evidence)
  • Failing to ensure the health and safety of non-employees resulting from their duty under section 3 and contrary to section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. (Offer no evidence)
  • Failing to ensure the safety of premises resulting from their duty under section 4 and contrary to section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. (Offer no evidence)
  • Breach of regulation 5 of the provision and use of work equipment regulations contrary to section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. (Lie on File)
  • Breach of regulation 9 of the lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations contrary to section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. (Pleaded Guilty)

Esso Petroleum Company Limited has pleaded guilty to:

  • Breach of regulation 5 maintenance of the lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations contrary to section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act

Ends

Notes to Editors

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