Esso-owned oil refinery admits safety breaches

After being prosecuted over the death of one of its workers, bosses at an Esso-owned oil refinery in Fawley have admitted breaching health and safety rules.

Winchester Crown Court, where the case is being held, heard how worker Juan Romero was crushed to death by a huge fuel pipe falling on top of him when he was working on a fuel tanker docked at the site in August 2008.

Following the tragic incident, the police launched an investigation and found that the pipe which killed Mr Romero was connected to a jib with a “seriously corroded” connector bolt. Both the Esso Petroleum Company Ltd, which owns the Hampshire site, and the contractor Austin & McLean Ltd were charged following the investigation.

Barristers representing Esso have now entered a guilty plea on behalf of the company for a charge of failing to ensure that lifting equipment was maintained in good repair, working order and in a generally efficient state. The company is, however, contesting the four other charges made against it, which are thought to relate to a general failure to ensure the health and safety of employees through measures such as health and safety training and thorough risk assessments.