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Oil & Gas UK’s key health and safety report urges offshore industry to remain proactive on safety

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Oilfield Technology,

A key report published today (Wednesday, October 30) on the health and safety landscape of the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry has called for the sector to remain proactive on safety, whilst continuing to protect people working in the sector.

Findings from OGUK’s Health and Safety Report 2019 reveal that offshore helicopter operations were conducted without an accident last year, and the fatal accident rate per 100 000 flying hours dropped to zero for the first time since 2001, despite flying hours increasing by 12% to 77 286 in 2018.

In terms of general safety, the report highlights that whilst the over-seven-day injury rate has increased, analysis of some of the longer-term trends shows that after a period of slight increase in the years to 2014-15, a downward trend is apparent in the years since.

However, it notes that major hydrocarbon releases, whilst reduced since 2012, have since increased to four in 2018. Continued industry efforts to drive concerted action in this area are being steered by OGUK in partnership with Step Change in Safety.

OGUK has also highlighted its focus for next year and identified four key areas it will address into 2020, including hydrocarbon release prevention, major hazard management, improvements in aviation safety and the health of the workforce.

Commenting on the report findings, OGUK’s Health and Safety Manager Trevor Stapleton said: “OGUK is co-ordinating industry action to prevent hydrocarbon releases and we cannot take our eye off the ball. When it comes to getting people home safely, nothing is more important, and we must strive to always do better.

“We will host our first ever HSE Conference next week bringing together trade bodies, industry experts and regulators, to discuss improvements and challenges in all areas as part of a drive to take health and safety performance forward into the next decade.

“Our report shows that the downward trend in HCRs shown in the three-year moving average has plateaued in 2018. If the rate of hydrocarbon releases continues on the current trajectory over the next two years, there will be an increase for the first time in over a decade.

“However, in the period reported it is worth noting that year-on-year increases such as those seen in 2009-10 and 2013 have been followed by improving performance. Nevertheless, we cannot be complacent.

“We are committed to working with the regulator, industry and in collaboration with other stakeholders, to help steer efforts in this and the other focus areas of major hazard management, particularly guidance for a safety case fit for the future, improvements in aviation safety, and the health of the offshore workforce.

“This is an opportunity to harness all the great work being done in the HSE arena, to ensure our industry remains aligned and continues on its path of developing sustainable improvements.”

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