Union Calls for Changes to UK Safety Report

5 August 2009 (Last Updated August 5th, 2009 18:30)

The UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has claimed zero offshore fatal and major injuries for consecutive years, despite this year’s Super Puma helicopter crash in the North Sea in April this year, which claimed 16 lives. As a result, UK oil and gas industry workers’ union RMT has ca

The UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has claimed zero offshore fatal and major injuries for consecutive years, despite this year’s Super Puma helicopter crash in the North Sea in April this year, which claimed 16 lives.

As a result, UK oil and gas industry workers’ union RMT has called for a revision of the reporting standards of the HSE, according to a report by the BBC.

The HSE's present system of reporting does not consider air and marine accidents.

UK chair of health and safety Judith Hackitt admitted the figures released by the HSE fail to reflect the dangers of the industry.

"Although we were pleased to see no fatalities occurring in offshore operations for a second consecutive year, this good news was of course overshadowed by the tragic events of 1 April when the Super Puma helicopter crashed, with the loss of 16 passengers,” Hackitt said.

“The same day, in a separate incident, a worker received fatal injuries aboard a dive support vessel in transit.”

HSE’s report says that the offshore sector in the UK is becoming safer, with the combined fatal and major injury rate for offshore injuries and hydrocarbon releases at their lowest since the body began regulating the industry in 1991, the HSE said in its annual report for 2008-09.

The number of major injuries dropped to 30 from 44 in 2007-08, while the combined fatal and major injury rate reduced to 106 per 100,000 workers compared with 156 in 2007-08.

Major hydrocarbon releases decreased to 61 from 74 in the previous year.

HSE offshore division head Ian Whewell said that the industry needs to work towards continued improvement in hydrocarbon release reductions.

“Worryingly, early indicators for 2009-10 suggest last year’s improved performance is currently not being delivered,” Whewell said.

"Carrying forward last year’s success will require continued industry focus on integrity management, safe systems of work, supervision, risk assessment and competence.”