OSHA orders Paria, LMCS to cease pipeline works

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The jetty at Paria Fuel Trading Company at Pointe-a-Piuerre. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

TWO WEEKS after the Paria diving tragedy where four commercial divers died after being sucked into a 30-inch pipeline while doing routine maintenance, the country’s safety regulator has issued an order prohibiting similar work.

In a statement issued on March 11, the Occupational Safety and Health Agency, one of the bodies investigating the February 25 incident, said the order was against State-owned Paria Fuel Trading Company Ltd and its contractor LMCS.

The regulator did not say when the effective date of the order but noted that all subsea maintenance works had to be ceased “with immediate effect until the existing danger is removed and it has complied with the OSH Act and an approved standard.”

“Likewise, all diving operations by LMCS Ltd have also been prohibited with immediate effect,” the statement said.

OSHA investigators have been on site since February 25.

The stop-work order complies with Section 74(1) of the OSH Act Chap. 88:08 which states the regulator can “prohibit or restrict the use of any premises or part thereof or thing in the industrial establishment until the existing danger has been removed” or the Act has been complied with.

The organisation is the public authority in Trinidad and Tobago vested with powers to inspect, investigate and prosecute where necessary OSH-related accidents.

Energy Minister Stuart Young in response to a query told Parliament on March 3, said LMCS, the employer of the divers, had been taken off all the work on the pipelines at Paria for the time being.

The Government has since appointed a Commission of Enquiry to investigate the cause or the incident where divers Fyzal Kurban, Rishi Nagassar, Kazim Ali Jr and Yusuf Henry died while working at Berth 6, Pointe-a-Pierre. One diver, Christopher Boodram, survived.

An attempt to appoint a five-member investigative committee by the Energy Ministry collapsed after the Opposition objected to the selection of the Energy Chamber’s nominee, Eugene Tiah, over his previous ties with Young.