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Monday, May 10, 1999 Published at 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK


BP fined 20,000

The company says it has taken steps to avoid a repeat of the accident

Oil company BP Exploration has been fined and censured after an explosion on an oil platform in which two men were injured.

The company admitted contravening Health and Safety at Work regulations on the Bruce platform last October and was fined the maximum penalty, 20,000.

Mechanics William Farmer and Calum McNeil were installing a pump and motor unit when flammable gases near a drain ignited causing an explosion and fire in which both men suffered burns to their ears.

Mr Farmer was almost trapped in the blaze and Mr McNeil's overalls caught fire.

Static electricity

Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told the explosion possibly resulted from static electricity igniting the gases and enquiries by safety officers revealed the risks of such an operation had not been assessed beforehand.

It took 30 minutes to extinguish the blaze but damage to the platform, which is 340km from land, was minor.

Fining BP Exploration, Sheriff Peter Gillam said the accident "could have resulted in serious consequences for those on the rig".

Defence agent James Tierney said the company accepted its normally high standards of practice had not been met on this occasion but steps had been taken to ensure there was no re-occurrence.

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