A widow whose partner was killed while working for one of Scotland biggest salmon farm operators has accused bosses of failing to improve safety standards – despite the firm admitting criminal charges over his death.
Claiming little has been done to protect staff, Catriona Lockhart issued a stark warning: ‘Others will die unless lessons are learned.’
Clive Hendry, an experienced fish farm worker, was crushed as he stepped between a boat and a feed barge in February 2020 while working for Mowi, a Norway-based seafood company that operates across Scotland.
This month the firm was hit with a huge fine after it admitted breaching health and safety legislation in relation to the death of Mr Hendry. But Ms Lockhart, 56, has gathered evidence which, she claims, shows fish farm workers are still being put at risk.
Speaking to The Scottish Mail on Sunday, she said she has also been contacted by a Mowi whistleblower who has told her safety drills are still not being held regularly.
Catriona Lockhart, 56, who lost her husband Clive three years ago, has gathered evidence which, she claims, shows fish farm workers are still being put at risk
Catriona’s husband Clive Hendry, 58, was an experienced fish farm worker when he was crushed as he stepped between a boat and a feed barge in February 2020 while working for seafood firm Mowi
Ms Lockhart is now demanding a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) to fully investigate the circumstances of Mr Hendry’s death.
She said: ‘What haunts me is Clive must have been terrified.
‘He had the most horrific death. I have to find out exactly why he died. I truly believe it will happen again and I need lessons to actually have been learned.
‘They admitted some failings in court but that did not go into enough detail to expose what they did wrong. They say things have changed but I don’t believe they have. There needs to be an FAI.’
Mr Hendry, from Dornie, Rossshire, worked for Mowi for 12 years before his death at Ardintoul fish farm in nearby Loch Alsh.
He stepped through an open gate on the Beinn na Cailleach boat to a ladder on the feeding barge in a practice known as a touch and go transfer. While on the ladder, he was crushed by the boat and slipped into the water and drowned.
The 58-year-old’s workmates did not know how to use the ‘man overboard’ equipment on the boat.
At Inverness Sheriff Court, Mowi admitted failing to carry out proper risk assessments and safety training in relation to Mr Hendry’s death. The firm was fined £800,000 with a surcharge of £60,000.
Mr Hendry was hit by the boat Beinn na Cailleach (pictured) and a floating structure known as a sea cap, before slipping out of his lifejacket and ending up under water
None of this money goes to Ms Lockhart, who is suing Mowi separately in a civil matter.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch found Mr Hendry was crushed because he stepped off the boat while it was still moving. He was able to do so as the bulwark gate was open and there were no crew on hand to supervise the move. The report found the crew were unprepared for the emergency and did not know how to use the rescue equipment.
Witnesses described how assistant manager Mr Hendry was submerged for about 20 seconds before being pulled from the water, but he could not be resuscitated.
To highlight her concerns, Ms Lockhart filmed a Mowi boat – more than a year after her partner’s death – at a fish farm.
The footage shows the bulwark doors open on the side as it sailed. It also showed an employee leaning over the side of the boat to tie it up before it was stationary.
She said: ‘When it happens again – and it will – I want everyone on board to know exactly what to do.
‘They’re such a big company, they simply put their hands up to it then operate exactly the same way. In court they said they had bought two expensive dummies and regularly practise man overboard drills – but I’ve heard from one worker still there that they’ve only done that twice since Clive died.’
The Crown Office said: ‘A decision on whether to hold an FAI into the death of Clive Hendry is yet to be made.’
Lawyer Joel Shaw, from Thompsons solicitors, said: ‘We continue to support Ms Lockhart with her civil case and fully back her campaign for a FAI.’
Mowi insisted it has an effective training system in place and ‘the alleged claims put forward to you by an anonymous source are false’. It stated man overboard drills are carried out twice a year.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk