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Oil And Gas Industry ‘Not Complacent’ Over Health And Safety

Posted: 29/10/2018

Oil & Gas UK has stressed that the industry isn’t complacent over health and safety improvements, despite the fact that its latest Health and Safety Report 2018 shows that there has been a continued downward trend in reportable incidents in the past year.

The organisation revealed that 225 incidents were reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2017. This is a 67 per cent reduction on the number of incidents reported in 2000-01 and represents the lowest ever figure.

The oil and gas sector also didn’t have any work-related fatalities in 2017 on the UK continental shelf (UKCS).

While it’s encouraging to see such significant improvements being made for health and safety in the sector, Oil & Gas UK stated that it isn’t going to become complacent about its record.

The organisation acknowledged that there are still areas to improve on, such as where major hydrocarbon releases are concerned. These have fallen to around two per year since 2012, but given the potentially devastating consequences when these go wrong, the organisation is working to reduce them still further.

Health and safety manager at Oil & Gas UK Trevor Stapleton said that this is still a “major hazard industry” and as a result that it has “a clear duty to protect the health and safety of our people”.

Where hydrocarbon releases are concerned, Mr Stapleton commented: “In a year where we marked 30 years since Piper Alpha, we’re all too aware of the personal and long-lasting consequences if things go wrong.”

Some 167 men were killed in the Piper Alpha disaster, when the platform in the North Sea exploded. It is still the worst offshore disaster recorded in the world. The tragedy was caused by gas from a leaking pump igniting, which set off a series of explosions which destroyed the platform.

Earlier in the year, Oil & Gas UK hosted a major safety conference to explore what innovations and procedures can be introduced to help improve safety in the offshore sector.

Safety culture as a whole was one of the key focuses of the event, with Piper Alpha survivor Steve Rae calling on everyone who attended the conference to do one thing differently to make a positive change to safety culture where they work.

Reflecting on past incidents is vital for improving safety in the future. Energy Voice recently revealed that the landmark report into the Piper Alpha tragedy that was carried out by Lord Cullen is finally available to the public free of charge.

Until recently, anyone who wanted a printed version of the report had to pay £70, a fee that the Institution of Chemical Engineers described as “unacceptable”.

Those working in the industry have welcomed the free publication of the report, noting that it will encourage organisations to share safety lessons.

Regularly carrying out incident response training with your response teams can help them prepare better for tackling any incidents and emergencies

With any disaster there are still relevant lessons to be learned, which is why making this report more widely available is seen as a positive step forward.