Cornish marine firm fined £10k over safety breaches

The owner of a Cornish marine company has been fined £10,000 for safety breaches which put a diver's life at serious risk, a court heard.

Kenneth Dunstan, owner of Mylor Marine Maintenance of Marlowe Bridge, pleaded guilty to breaching four diving safety regulations before Truro magistrates.

The court heard Mr Dunstan from Saltbox Road, Mylor Bridge used incorrect equipment and an unqualified diver.

The Health and Safety Executive found the breaches on 5 May 2010.

'No choice'

The court heard that one of Mr Dunstan's employees had been working underwater on moorings in the estuary near St Mawes.

Inspectors said they found the diver was using one tank of breathing gas with a mouthpiece.

They said a full face mask and two tanks were required.

The court heard there was no standby diver or a lifeline and the employee did not have the proper qualifications.

There was also no diving plan for the work being carried out, which should have included a risk assessment and a project plan, the court heard.

The inspectors stopped the dive and issued improvement notices to the firm.

Speaking after the prosecution, HSE Inspector Bill Chilton said: "Mr Dunstan fell far below the standard required of a diving contractor for managing the risks involved in diving projects.

"He was so far below the benchmarks that we had no choice but to prosecute," he added.

Mr Dunstan admitted breaching four regulations and was fined £10,000 with costs of £2,000.

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