A WORKER was killed when he was crushed by a huge pipe that rolled off a lorry as it was moved at Hampshire’s Fawley oil refinery, an inquest heard.

Experienced rigger Tony McGowan was preparing to unload the 6.5m-long piece of steelwork when the tragic incident happened, in July last year.

The 57-year-old grandfather was working with apprentice Ian Brooks after driving the equipment – part of the main pipeline taking crude oil from marine berths into the refinery – to a designated drop-off area on the shore.

But as soon as Mr Brooks removed the last strap holding the heavy steelwork, which was part of piping being replaced in a major refurbishment project, it began to roll off the lorry.

Southampton Coroner’s Court today heard Mr McGowan suffered several broken ribs and a broken pelvis as well as other injuries.

Medical staff treated him at the scene before he was taken to Southampton General Hospital by ambulance, but he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Mr Brooks, who was working under Mr McGowan’s supervision, told the inquest the senior rigger was “extremely safety conscious”.

He said if he had had any concerns about the instruction to remove the straps he would have raised them, but the operation had seemed to be going well.

A jury is expected to deliver a verdict in the inquest later this week.

Proceeding .