An oilfi eld services company was recently fi ned £300,000 (reduced from £450,000 due to an early guilty plea) for placing workers at risk of exposure to a radioactive source.

The company in question was contracted to carry out wireline logging operations at a well in the North Sea. The operations involved the lowering of a logging tool fi tted with a radioactive source which would collect data for transmission to the surface.

The radioactive source was not properly fi tted to the logging tool prior to its lowering into the well and lay on the drill fl oor for a number of hours. As a result, 14 workers were placed at risk from exposure to the radioactive source.

The case serves as a caution for the offshore, medical and all other industries using and storing radioactive materials. All industries using such materials have duties to ensure that they are properly supervised and stored in a manner compliant with, amongst other things, the Ionising Radiation Regulations 1999.