Trinidad: Health agency prohibits Paria, LMCS from subsea maintenance works

Port Of Spain – The Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) has issued prohibition notices against Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited and LMCS Limited barring subsea maintenance works and diving operations by both companies.

In a release late Friday, OSHA said pursuant to the Prohibition Notice, Paria must stop all subsea maintenance works with immediate effect until the existing danger is removed and it has complied with the OSH Act and an approved standard.

It also said that  all diving operations by LMCS Limited have also been prohibited with immediate effect until the existing danger identified in the notice is removed and it (LMCS) has complied with the OSH Act and an approved standard.

It said Section 74(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act Chap. 88:08 confers upon OSHA powers to “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. It noted that it is the public authority in Trinidad and Tobago vested with powers to inspect, investigate and prosecute where necessary, OSH-related accidents.

The agency noted that it is in the process of investigating the fatal accident at Paria on February 25 where divers Rishi Nagassar, Kazim Ali Jr, Yusuf Henry and Fyzal Kurban were killed.

It extended sympathies to the families, friends and associates of the deceased and said it will continue to do all within its power to secure the safety and health of employees in the twin island republic.

On Thursday, Energy Minister Stuart Young revealed that the Commission of Enquiry will consist of Justice Cecil Dennis Morrison (OJ, CD, QC), sub-sea specialist Gregory Wilson, with the third member coming from a specialist international investigative firm, who will have experience in conducting investigations into accidents and incidents in large industrial settings, especially in oil and gas.

Former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj will be the lead legal counsel. The commission has been given six months to produce its findings.

Under the Commission of Enquiry Act, the commission has the right to call for witnesses, documents, subpoena witnesses and make recommendations not only limited to culpability but also to make strong recommendations on what should be done to avoid a further occurrence of the incident. (CMC)

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