NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

'No room for complacency' on offshore safety

oil platform in Cromarty Firth
Image caption The report says the oil and gas sector is one of the safest industries in the UK

Oil and Gas UK has produced its first ever annual safety report.

The industry body said its study showed there was no room for complacency, despite major improvements to offshore safety.

It claims that oil and gas is the third safest industry in the UK for non-fatal accidents.

The report also said that incidents such as the gas release from Total's Elgin platform earlier this year were at an all-time low.

The publication is set to become an annual feature.

It will provide a detailed summary of the industry's safety performance, an overview of ongoing safety-related projects, and a look ahead to the future.

'Dispelling myths'

Oil and Gas UK's director of health and safety, Robert Paterson, said that despite some major oil and gas leaks making the headlines in the last few years, the UK's record on safety remained good.

He added: "It also dispels a few myths around safety performance.

"Despite being a major hazard industry, the oil and gas sector is outperforming many other UK sectors in terms of non-fatal injuries to workers, with only education and finance doing better."

This year's report said that major and significant hydrocarbon releases into the environment had been at an all-time low over the last year.

Oil and Gas UK has been lobbying ministers, asking them to resist attempts by the European Commission to introduce new regulation of offshore oil and gas health and safety.

Mr Paterson said: "The report serves to underline the fact that the UK has one of the most robust offshore health and safety regimes in the world.

"The reason it is strong is because we're not complacent and we're always looking for ways to improve or to make things safer."

Report context

However, the RMT Union which represents Oil and Gas workers in the North Sea, urged caution when interpreting the statistics in the report.

Regional organiser Jake Molloy said: "It would be more appropriate to have some reflection on the lagging indicators, as it were, as well as the leading indicators.

"Especially when you put the statistics into context, Elgin was only counted as one release, but it was one of the largest gas releases we've ever had."

He also warned the workforce may see the report as papering over the cracks.

More on this story