April 16, 2019

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In Court

Several failures in diver’s death case

A boat owner has been sentenced to community service following the death of a diver in Orkney.

boatIn March 2012, Roderick MacLean, who had been diving for scallops from the fishing boat MV Hildona, did not surface at London Bay, Orkney.

Despite extensive searches, his remains were not located until November of that year.

Investigating, the HSE found various safety issues in connection with diving operations conducted from the vessel, namely failures to ensure that:

  • A diving project plan based on a risk assessment was prepared;
  • People involved in the diving projects were briefed on arrangements;
  • Divers taking part in these projects were the holders of an approved qualification valid for such activity and a valid certificate of medical fitness to dive.

Shaun Geddes, of Orkney, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Diving at Work Regulations 1997 and was sentenced to 200 hours community service.

Speaking after sentencing, HSE Inspector Bill Chilton said “[This] outcome will highlight the need for all parties involved in commercial diving projects to keep the health and safety of divers to the fore.

“We hope this sentence, which follows a detailed investigation into Roderick MacLean’s death, will send a strong message to the shellfish diving industry that all individuals have a duty to plan and carry out work properly in order to protect workers”.


The most-read health and safety prosecution and fine stories on SHP in March 2019.

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