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A Scottish salmon farming company has been fined £70,000 for breach of health and safety laws after a worker drowned in Loch Heather.

Peter Duce drowned in February 2008 when the boat he and four colleagues were using to inspect fish cages filled with water and capsized.

At Stornoway Sheriff Court earlier this week, West Minch Salmon Limited was fined £70,000 after it pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive found that risk assessments prepared by the company for workers travelling to and from the fish cages were not suitable or sufficient and that the company had failed to provide operating instructions for safe use of the boat used for the task.

The boat that the men were travelling in had been overloaded on a regular basis. The manufacturer’s recommendation was that it should carry a maximum of three people.

After the hearing, a representative of the HSE said: “If  West Minch Salmon Ltd had carried out a sufficient risk assessment and either provided a higher capacity boat or provided and implemented a safe procedure for using the boat that was provided to travel to and from the fish cages in the loch, then this incident would not have happened.”


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