UK Govt to Complete Probe into North Sea Deaths in 3 Months

The UK Health and Safety Executive has launched an immediate investigation, with full co-operation from Shell Expro, into the deaths of the two men working on Shell Expro's Brent Bravo Platform. On September 12th, two Inspectors from HSE's Offshore Division went to the platform where they started to gather evidence. Two Specialist Inspectors joined them on September 13th. This team remained on board until September 16th. Grampian Police also attended the scene.

This investigation has been given the highest priority by HSE and is being given all the Inspector, specialist and laboratory resources necessary to establish the root causes of this incident as quickly as possible. HSE has already taken possession of certain items of plant and equipment for further tests. The bereaved families are being kept informed of progress.

An enforcement notice was served on Shell Expro on September 15th, before the Inspectors left the platform, prohibiting the use of specific parts of the process plant. An additional notice was served on September 19th prohibiting all production and processing of hydrocarbons on the Brent Bravo platform until certain pre-start up conditions are met. The cause of death of the two men was suffocation. Initial lines of enquiry include examination of pipework; temporary repairs to pipework; control valves and their operation and aspects of the permit-to-work system.

HSE acknowledges the prompt and comprehensive actions which Shell has initiated on all their offshore and downstream installations across their European operations as a result of this incident and the high level of co-operation between HSE, the Police and Shell.

The investigation is continuing and it is HSE's intention that a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal within three months.