SAFETY procedures have been tightened at Fawley Oil Refinery after a worker was crushed to death in a tragic accident.

Bosses at the giant Esso-owned facility have issued instructions that all equipment being moved must be connected to a crane before being unloaded.

It follows the death of 57- year-old grandfather Tony McGowan last year, who suffered major injuries when a 3.5-tonne section of pipe rolled off a lorry.

His two devastated sons last night said they hoped lessons from the tragedy would help avoid another family suffering “the pain and anger we have experienced”.

The 6.5-metre steelwork began moving immediately after the final strap securing it to the flat bed truck was removed by the rigger’s apprentice colleague.

Southampton Coroner’s Court heard the workers had not attached it to a waiting crane before releasing the fastenings, leaving nothing to stop it rolling.

Mr McGowan, of Ebbw Vale in south-east Wales, suffered several broken ribs and a broken pelvis, and was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at Southampton General Hospital on July 21, 2011.

Esso bosses, who last night said everyone at Fawley had been “deeply saddened” by his death, which happened early in a major five-year refurbishment project, swiftly introduced instructions that all items moved must be hooked to a crane before fastenings are removed for unloading.

The inquest heard other workers had assumed the first step of unloading the pipe, which was taken from the marine terminal to the Solent View area of the plant, would have been to attach it, but that was left to the discretion of “vastly experienced” and “extremely safety conscious” Mr McGowan.

Coroner Keith Wiseman said the unloading process should have been much simpler than the complex operation to remove the pipe from its original position.

He said: “In bitter experience, it’s just at those moments that the guard can go down ever so slightly.”

“In those two minutes, months of planning and organising of the day and the difficulties of travelling with this piece came to nought.”

The jury returned a narrative verdict outlining the details of the tragedy.