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BBC News: Shell criticised over oil deaths

A sheriff has criticised oil company Shell over the deaths of two oil workers on board a North Sea platform.

Keith Moncrieff, 45, of Invergowrie near Dundee, and Sean McCue, 22, of Kennoway in Fife, died in the accident on Brent Bravo in September 2003.

In his findings after a 38-day inquiry, Sheriff Colin Harris said their deaths might reasonably have been prevented.

Shell said safety was a top priority but was unwilling to comment further until it had seen the report in full.

Mr Moncrieff and Mr McCue had been making an inspection of a temporary repair patch in a leg of the platform when they were overcome by gas.

Shell was later fined £900,000 after admitting health and safety breaches, including failing to carry out a risk assessment on the platform.

Limits of working

A fatal accident inquiry was ordered by Lord Advocate Colin Boyd and got under way last October.

BBC Scotland has seen the findings of Sheriff Harris, whose report is due to be officially published on Tuesday.

In his determination he highlights a failure to clearly set out limits of working.

He also criticises Shell for failing to assess the consequences of starting up the platform in August 2003 in the knowledge that an emergency shutdown valve had failed.

And he says the accident could have been avoided if the temporary repair had been appropriate and properly managed
 

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