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Company fined £800k after death of fish farmer

Clive Hendry had been working on a salmon farm operated by Mowi Scotland Ltd when, in an attempt to move from a workboat to a barge, he suffered crush injuries, fell into the sea and drowned.

An extensive investigation by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency concluded Mowi Scotland Ltd, owner of workboat Beinn Na Caillich, failed to take all reasonable steps to ensure this boat was operated in a safe manner.

The accident happened on 18 February, 2020, when Mr Hendry was working on the Ardintoul fish farm, near Kyle of Lochalsh.

Mr Hendry was picked up from one of the fish pens by workboat Beinn Na Caillich, with a request to be taken to the Sea Cap barge.

On arrival he stepped from the workboat on to the barge’s access ladder. Here he was crushed by the workboat, which had been moving throughout.

As one of his colleagues tried to help him on to the barge, Mr Hendry slipped out of his life jacket into the sea.

Heard by Inverness Sheriff Court on 9 May, the MCA’s investigation revealed Mowi Scotland Ltd had failed to provide effective safe systems of work, sufficient or suitable risk assessments, sufficient risk mitigation, and sufficient control over Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The company also failed to prevent unsafe practice, with sea gates left open while a vessel was travelling.

MOWI Scotland Ltd was charged by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service under the Health and Safety at Work Act, and was fined £800,000. The company must also pay a victim surcharge of £60,000.

After the sentencing MCA lead investigator Jay Staff said:

This case highlights the consequences of unsafe practice and failing to operate a boat safely.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of Clive Hendry, who I hope can take some comfort from this result.

We also hope lessons have been learned. The MCA will always investigate and take action against failings of this nature.

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