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Securing a Safe and Sustainable Future in Oil and Gas

Securing a Safe and Sustainable Future in Oil and Gas

Securing a Safe and Sustainable Future in Oil and Gas

There’s good news and bad news from the offshore oil and gas industry this year. The good news is that the safety of helicopter operations has improved significantly, with 2019 bringing a zero fatal accident rate per 100,000 flying hours; the first time this has occurred since 2001 according to the 2019 Health and Safety Report published by Oil and Gas UK (OGUK). Unfortunately, the bad news is that health and safety in other areas isn’t looking to be quite as solid, with an increasing number of accidents and injuries.

In October this year, structural concerns relating to EnQuest’s Thistle Alpha platform sparked a 115 crew member evacuation. The event follows two recent fires on North Sea rigs, and the complete shutdown and subsequent removal of a floating production unit in 2017 directly associated with safety concerns.

Safety is proving to be one of the biggest challenges within the sector, and is viewed as an even greater concern as experts claim industry leaders have been ‘taking their eyes off the ball’. John Boland, Unite the Union Regional Officer, claims that offshore health and safety is becoming increasingly worse, and that leaders have a duty of care to protect their workforce to undertake their roles safely and securely.

Facilitating Change

Fortunately, it does appear that industry leaders are listening, and the first combined OGUK/HSE conference recently took place in Aberdeen, Scotland, on 6th November, lead by HSE Chairman Martin Temple. Speaking at the event, Temple confirmed that “effective safety management systems” were a priority for securing a safe and sustainable future in oil and gas, and health and safety formed a significant portion of the one-day event, attended by many notable names in the offshore sector.

Along with overall health and safety best practices, the 400-person event also placed notable focus on effective risk reduction relating to major accident hazards, the importance of promoting good mental health within the workplace, and minimising emissions for improved sustainability in the future.

Why Now?

The theme of the OGUK event was ‘Solving Tomorrow’s Challenges Today’, so why have industry leaders chosen now as the time to implement change and make a difference? The reason is the rapid growth that has been witnessed across the sector in recent years. The growth of the UK’s offshore energy sector has been significant, with 8 new wind farms installed off the British coast in 2018. It is anticipated that demand for human resources will increase quickly, sparking an urgent need for the industry to ensure that they are taking appropriate measures to protect their workforce through best practices and processes.

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