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Survey reveals employee concerns over scrapping of HSE offshore division

Oilfield Technology,

A survey of 5000 North Sea oil and gas workers has found that 75% believe the decision to scrap the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division will undermine offshore safety.

The survey, released by, also found 62% were worried that the scrapping of the unit would lead to another Piper Alpha disaster.

The oil and gas workers questioned the timing of the decision to close the division two months before the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha Disaster. The setting up of the dedicated HSE offshore division was a key recommendation of Lord Cullen’s report into ways to prevent another disaster taking place.

The decision also comes at a time when oil and gas workers are feeling more at risk. 72% believe that it is the worst possible time to close the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division, given recent concerns over ageing platforms and closures of platforms due to safety issues, such as the recent leak at the Cormorant Alpha platform.


The survey also found that workers were concerned about a range of issues affecting safety.

• 42% were concerned by lack of skilled workers.

• 44% were concerned by insufficient training.

• 44% were concerned by ageing platforms and assets off shore.

• 43% were concerned by complacency.


 “While there is no doubt that safety on North Sea oil and gas rigs has improved immeasurable since Lord Cullen’s report into the Piper Alpha disaster, our survey clearly shows that rig workers are concerned by the timing of the decision to cut one of Lord Cullen’s key recommendations, in the year of the 25th anniversary of the disaster itself,” said Kevin Forbes, CEO of

“What’s more, the decision comes at a time when workers are feeling greater concern because of ageing platforms and recent leaks, such as on the Cormorant Alpha platform. It isn’t surprising that the combination of the cutting of the HSE dedicated offshore division and ageing platforms has left many offshore workers feeling more at risk,” he said.

“With pressure of cuts from central Government taking their toll on many services across the country, many oil and gas workers will feel less inclined to believe the HSE that the scrapping of the service is about pooling skills because of emerging new technologies. Most see it simply as a cost-cutting exercise that will reduce the efficacy of the Health and Safety Executive to monitor rigs.”


Adapted from a press release by David Bizley


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