Thursday 13 June 2013

Oil & Gas UK’s Health and Safety Report Points to Continued Major Improvement in Offshore Safety

Oil & Gas UK’s annual Health & Safety report published today (13 June), shows that the UK oil and gas industry’s focus on continuous improvement is helping to keep the offshore workforce ever safer. The report details the performance of companies over the last year, and outlines several major incidents that occurred. As the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster approaches, the report also describes the measures being taken in the drive to further improve workers’ safety.

In terms of safety performance, the report finds:

  • A 48 per cent reduction in the number of reportable hydrocarbon releases over three years
  • Despite being a major hazard industry, in terms of non-fatal accidents the sector is the third-best performer in the UK. It has a better safety record than the public sector, retail and general manufacturing with only finance/business and education performing better
  • A noticeable and steady reduction in the incidence of over-three day injuries to an all-time low
  • No fatalities and a reduction in combined fatal and major injury rates, and in all types of dangerous occurrences
  • An all-time low in Level 3 verification non-compliances which relate to performance standards of safety critical equipment identified by an independent competent person

Oil & Gas UK’s health and safety director, Robert Paterson, said: “This year’s Health & Safety report shows that the industry’s unwavering commitment to continuous improvement in the safety of offshore workers is bearing fruit. Our industry has long performed well in terms of non-fatal accidents, better than sectors that would generally be considered lower hazard, including retail and the public sector.

“While several major incidents have had to be addressed in the period covered by this report, non-fatal, over-three day, and combined fatal and major injury rates have all been in steady decline and cases of non-compliance with verification are at an all-time low.

“Significantly, the report shows that the industry has also achieved a 48 per cent reduction in the number of hydrocarbon releases over three years, falling just short of the tough target set by the industry in 2010 to halve releases over that time.

“In all this progress, our industry’s safety organisation, Step Change in Safety, has played a leading role and most of the improvement is down to the focused, collaborative effort of companies, workforce representatives, Trade Unions and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in Step Change.

“However there is no room for complacency. While the review that followed the Piper Alpha disaster provided the foundation for what is now one of the most robust offshore health and safety regimes in the world, the approaching 25th anniversary of that tragedy only serves to remind us that we must never stop at striving to make things safer. Continued engagement of all parties through Step Change in Safety will be crucial in that effort.

“I am particularly proud of the part played by Oil & Gas UK in persuading the European Commission to drop its proposed Regulation on offshore oil and gas safety and instead proceed with a Directive. Again, the involvement of regulators and trade unions in this proved to be of huge importance and worth. The result leaves our world-class regulatory framework largely in-tact and enables the industry and regulators in the UK to continue on the path of continuous improvement without the major distraction of having to dismantle the existing safety system. Ongoing work around asset integrity, field life extension and aviation safety are further examples of our determination never to avoid health and safety issues, no matter how challenging they may be.”

Ends

Oil & Gas UK's Health & Safety Report 2013 is available here.

To bid for interviews with Robert Paterson and for more information, please contact Charlie Mayo at 01224 577331.

 

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