Offshore workers see decline in oil & gas safety standards

Health and safety standards in the offshore oil and gas industry have dropped in the last six months, according to a survey by Unite, a trade union for offshore workers in the UK North Sea. 

The union informed on Wednesday it surveyed more than 700 offshore workers regarding the state of offshore health & safety in the oil and gas sector.

According to results from the survey, more than 58% of those surveyed claimed standards had fallen while 38% said it had stayed the same. Just over 3% reported an improvement, Unite added.

Furthermore, the union said 38.5% of respondents felt unable to report an incident because of fear of victimization.

Following the results of the survey, Unite called for a whistleblowing helpline to be set up.

Unite’s regional officer William Wallace: “This survey shows a very worrying picture. Companies should never – ever – make cuts that threaten health and safety and put the lives of our members at risk.

“The lessons of Piper Alpha should never be forgotten.”

Wallace added: “We will be calling on the industry to work with health and safety bodies, with the trade unions, and with the government so that we can get a confidential helpline created. No worker should feel victimized for raising these issues. The consequences could be catastrophic.”

Trish Sentance, health and safety manager at industry body Oil & Gas UK, acknowledged that concerns have been raised.

Sentance added: “Industry takes the issue of health and safety very seriously and we would always encourage those with concerns to come forward to report these. For those wishing to make an anonymous report, there is an industry-wide confidential Health & Safety Executive phone-line already in place.”

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