Esso and Austin & McLean admit breach over sailor death

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Esso and one of its contractors have admitted health and safety offences following the death of a sailor at Fawley oil refinery five years ago.

Juan Antonio Quintanilla Romero, 40, was crushed by a fuel pipe at the Southampton facility in August 2008.

The pipe fell when the jib holding it collapsed because of a corroded bolt.

Refinery owner Esso Petroleum Company Ltd and Dorset-based Austin & McLean Ltd pleaded guilty to the charges at Winchester Crown Court.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Esso admitted breaches in maintenance and lifting equipment regulations at the hearing on Friday.

Three charges of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees, and a breach of work equipment regulations, were ordered to lie on file.

Austin & McLean, which was hired by Esso to undertake maintenance on the jib, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of non-employees.

A charge of of corporate manslaughter was dropped due to insufficient evidence, as was a separate charge of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees, a CPS spokesman said.

Both companies will be sentenced later this year.

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