Former OSH Inspector Saffraz Ali (Image courtesy Saffraz Ali)

Issue prohibition notice and bring in experts – 

RADHICA DE SILVA

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Former Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Inspector Saffraz Ali is calling on the OSH Agency to reveal whether it has issued a prohibition notice to Paria Fuel Trading Company to shut down all operations at the scene where four divers lost their lives.

Speaking to Guardian Media, Ali also called on the OSH Agency to utilize international diving experts to look into the tragedy which left divers Rishi Nagassar, Yusuf Henry, Kazim Ali Jr and Fyzal Kurban dead.

Acknowledging a press statement from the OSH Agency who confirmed that a separate OSH investigation had begun, Ali said it was important for that investigation to be conducted with due diligence.

He said a prohibition notice issued by OSHA was needed to ensure that the physical conditions of the pipeline remain the same.

“We are hearing that people went down the pipeline after the deaths of the divers. That will be a breach of the OSH Act because this is an accident scene and all evidence has to be preserved. I would like the OSH Agency to explain whether it issued any prohibition notice to cease all activities and operations with respect to Riser 5 and Riser 6 where the accident occurred,” Ali said.

He noted, “Once the OSH Agency starts an investigation, there must be no tampering of the site.”

He also added, ” We want to find out if the OSH is bringing down any independent subject matter expert to assist them with the investigation because the OSH would have relied on the duty holder, which is Paria to carry out their internal investigation to determine the root cause.”

However, in a situation with four deaths, Ali said the OSH Agency cannot rely on Paria and LMCS but should seek an independent subject matter expert to help with ongoing investigations.

Ali said litigation was on the way and having the reports done properly was important.

On March 1, the OSH Agency confirmed that it was conducting its own probe into the accident noting that its Chief Inspector “attended the scene of the accident immediately upon notification”.

The Agency said the investigation is being done in the context of the duties and requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act Chapter 88:08 as it seeks to determine the cause of the accident.

OSHA has extended its sincere condolences to the families and loved ones and said: “it remains committed to fostering the protection of the safety and health of all persons in workplaces in Trinidad and Tobago and compliance with the OSH Act.”

A list of questions has been sent to the OSH communications department who said a statement will be issued “in due course.”