A HEALTH and safety inspector said yesterday the cramped living conditions on an oil platform off the coast of Aberdeen were some of the worst he had seen.
Robert Drummond described the accommodation provided for workers on Talisman Energy’s Tartan platform as “claustrophobic”.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) served the oil company with an improvement notice earlier this year after an inspection indicated workers were suffering from a “loss of privacy” and had “insufficient showering and toilet facilities”.
Inspectors claim more than two personnel are often allocated to the same cabin during a single 24-hour period, which they say is a breach of the Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction etc) Regulations (DCR) 1996.
Talisman is appealing against the notice and a hearing got under way in Aberdeen yesterday.
Mr Drummond, who is one of the HSE inspectors who visited the Tartan in January, told a panel of employment judges his organisation had twice raised concerns over the living arrangements on the platform.
He said Talisman had previously been threatened with enforcement action, but avoided it by promising to assign only more than two people to a four-bed cabin in exceptional circumstances and not without “first notifying and consulting” the HSE.
The inspector said the firm updated its site directive accordingly on April 29, last year, but then altered it again without informing the HSE. During his visit, Mr Drummond took photographs of the cabins, shower and toilet facilities as part of his report on the condition of the platform.
He told the hearing: “In terms of space standards it’s about the worst I have seen offshore.
“In my pictures I was trying to show how claustrophobic it is.”
Mr Drummond said that ideally two people on different shifts would be in a two-bunk cabin, allowing them 12 hours of privacy.
However, it is alleged Talisman often assigns four people to a four-bunk room which, because of shift patterns, means three of the workers would never have any privacy.
The arrangement also has a knock-on effect on the showering and toilet facilities, which are shared between two cabins, Mr Drummond said. He claimed there could be times when six men would have to get up “very early” to queue for the shower before breakfast.
The hearing will continue on Monday.