By Andrew Hobbs

TECHNIP Oceania has paid $70,000 in fines after pleading guilty in Perth Magistrates court to two charges in relation to a diving incident which occurred in 2011 in a project off the northwest coast of Western Australia.

The incident occurred when a diver employed by Technip was hurt when the protection pipe and tube of the high pressure water gun he was using fell away, causing serious injuries to his left forearm.

The charges, brought under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006, were that Technip failed to take steps to implement work systems which were safe and failed to provide employees with the instruction necessary for them to carry out their work safely.

The successful prosecution followed the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority investigation into the accident.

In passing sentence, Magistrate Kevin Tavener said that these offences were serious, with people ignoring the need for full compliance with the safety provisions which were in place.

“Safety provisions, even with complex supporting safety systems are only effective if they are followed and not put aside for convenience,” he said.

In a statement provided to Oil & Gas Australia, Technip Oceania said the diver had since fully recovered from the injury and that he continues to work as a diver.

Technip Oceania covered all of his medical costs including loss of pay.

“Technip conducted a comprehensive internal investigation which concluded that the immediate cause of the incident was a fault in the equipment being operated by the diver,” the company said.

“Since then, Technip has taken additional measures to prevent the incident from happening again such as reinforcing our work and procurement procedures.”

“Technip has a very strong safety culture and is committed to providing a safe, healthy and environmentally-friendly working environment for all people, including employees, sub-contractors and visitors,” the company said.

NOPSEMA has also confirmed in its newsletter that it has commenced legal proceedings against the equipment manufacturer, Hammelmann Australia, through the Magistrates Court of WA.