Oil and Gas UK and three trade unions have announced their opposition to a European Union regulation that will bring offshore oil and gas safety under a common policy.

In a joint statement, the industry body, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and Unite said that the proposed regulations were badly drafted, risked widespread confusion and did not involve collaboration between the regulator, the industry and its workforce.

The statement says that while the industry and workforce would support any action that improves offshore safety and limits the consequences of a major accident, the proposed regulation would have a "serious detrimental impact on standards of safety and environmental protection on the UK continental shelf."

Oil & Gas UK chief executive Malcolm Webb said that by moving overall responsibility for offshore safety to the EU may undermine UK’s high standards of offshore safety and environmental protection.

"The four European countries that account for 90% of the region’s production already operate under safety regimes that the commission accepts are global exemplars," said Webb.

"To propose that legislative competence should shift from these countries to the 27 EU member states, the vast majority of whom have no involvement in the industry at all, is totally unjustified."

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RMT regional organiser Jake Molloy added: "We see workforce involvement as a fundamental part of improving all-round safety performance in the offshore industry and this is increasingly being recognised by operators and contractors."