14th May 2019, 15:54
Unite the union called for a full external investigation into an incident at Gibdock which saw sea water start to pour into the dry dock facility while workers were inside together with heavy machinery and scaffolding structures.
Gibdock told GBC the incident happened in April 2018, but footage of it has just emerged on social media prompting Unite to ask questions about the manner in which it was investigated.
Unite says the footage of sea water pouring into the dry dock shows the incident last year was serious and "a near miss", calling for it to be fully investigated by external health & safety inspectors.
In response to GBC questions, Gibdock said the incident did not result in injuries or damage. A spokesperson said it was fully investigated by the company itself and the outcome was reportedly further training and an update to the relevant procedure. Gibdock said it is confident the incident will not happen again.
But Unite says if the footage had not emerged on social media, the issue would have been covered up. The union claims that Gibdock“has a very poor track record on health & safety” and that “a lack of investment has overshadowed its operation over the years”. Gibdockdeclined to comment on these allegations.
Unite says it is happy that no injury or loss of life occurred, but warns against complacency as every 15 seconds across the world a worker dies.
And, on Tuesday afternoon, the Health and Safety Inspectorate said it only learned of the incident that day.
In response to GBC questions, it said it's now carried out an investigation has found there was human error: an employee mistook a valve for that of the adjacent dock, and released water into the wrong dock.
It adds the operator realised his error and immediately closed the corresponding valve.
The Inspectorate says nobody was injured, and there was no evidence of negligence, adding the matter was dealt with internally by Gibdock.