Guyana labor officials visit shore base facility following fatal accident

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Investigations by Guyana’s Ministry of Labour into a fatality at a Vreed-en-Hoop Shore Base Inc. (VEHSI) facility determined that the deceased was not equipped with the necessary safety gear at the time of the incident. 

He was identified as Health and Safety Helper, Rusbel Jesus Rengel Azocar, 36, of San Felix, Venezuela. He was under the employ of a subcontractor, Gas Total Solution Inc. 

According to the Ministry’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) department report, the incident occurred Saturday, Feb. 10, around 6:40 p.m. 

“According to reports received from the company, Azocar was engaged in the task of placing a barrier around a hole with water on the southern half of the site’s quay wall.

During the process, he fell into the hole. Eyewitnesses alleged that Azocar was not wearing a life jacket at the time of his fall, despite a mandate to wear same on the quay wall to prevent drowning,” the Ministry’s investigation revealed. 

The area where Rusbel Azocar reportedly fell. (Ministry of Labour/Feb. 13, 2024) 

Works have been suspended on the quay wall. 

“The OSH department continues to reiterate the importance of adhering to workplace health and safety regulations to mitigate the likelihood of workplace accidents,” the Ministry said. 

Investigations continued on Tuesday; Assistant Chief Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Officers of the Ministry of Labour, Maxean Bess and Roydon Croal, visited the shore base to inspect the area where Azocar allegedly fell and was fatally injured. According to the Ministry, they were accompanied by representatives of Jan De Nul Inc., who had employed Azocar through subcontractor, Gas Total Solutions Guyana Inc.

Jan De Nul is the international partner in the project alongside NRG Holdings owned by Guyanese businessmen, Andron Alphonso and Nicholas Deygoo-Boyer. 

VEHSI forms part of the Port of Vreed-en-Hoop and is meant to be the special-purpose vehicle to serve ExxonMobil’s Yellowtail project. The first phase of the project was expected to be delivered by December 2023 but there have been delays.

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