The chairwoman of the Health and Safety Executive said yesterday that the offshore industry’s leadership had responded well to a critical report on about 100 UK platforms published at the end of 2007.
Judith Hackitt was giving a speech in the Ardoe House Hotel, near Aberdeen, at the new UK oil and gas industry safety awards organised by Step Change in Safety and Oil and Gas UK.
She referred to the HSE’s Key Programme 3 (KP3) report, which had discovered backlog levels of non-routine maintenance was as high as 26,000 hours, while only half of deluge equipment – used to supply water to fight fires – passed a test.
Mrs Hackitt said, however, that a subsequent review found the offshore industry’s leadership had responded well and allocated considerable resources to tackling issues identified in the report.
She told the audience of about 350 people: “It would be an understatement to say that, over the last few years, the offshore oil and gas industry has gone through some challenging times.
“Structural changes among operators, some stark reminders of the importance of process safety and asset integrity, concerns about the extent to which workforces are engaged and dealing with the findings of the HSE’s seminal publication, the KP3 report but, to the industry’s credit, led by its Step Change initiative, it has made significant progress in addressing such issues.
“Today, I want to remind you all that this is a task that never ends and one where complacency must never be allowed to creep in. The necessary level of focus and commitment to continue this important work and ensure that health and safety in offshore oil and gas industry continues to improve year-on-year must be maintained.”
Mrs Hackitt said HSE had always been eager for an event such as yesterday, adding: “The recognition that awards bring is very important to health and safety because as we keep saying: health and safety is about creating a culture that is embedded within a company and its employees’ DNA so that the right things are done at the right time all of the time. I’ve been impressed but not surprised by the number and the quality of the nominations that the awards have attracted. I know there has to be a winner, but 90 nominations were received; that’s a lot of people using their ingenuity to create solutions or find ways to make their workplaces safer for everyone.”
OGUK chief executive Malcolm Webb said: “Safety is a job never done and we constantly need to strive to improve and reduce the risk to those working in our industry to the absolute minimum. To achieve this, it is vital that we learn from each other, share best practice and take new ideas and initiatives back into our own individual companies. This is why the awards were created; to honour our high performers and . . . to provide a platform to share their achievements and best practice with the wider industry.”
Mr Webb told the audience that the winners would not get their medals immediately: they are stuck in France due to the ash-cloud chaos.
He also said that two Piper Alpha safety scholarships, worth £12,500 each, would be launched later this year, with the successful applicants studying in Aberdeen.
Winners of the awards, sponsored by Maersk Oil, were:
Safety Leadership, sponsored by Chevron Upstream Europe – Kevin Hailes, North Sea electrical technical authority with BP.
Safety Representative of the Year, sponsored by Nexen Petroleum UK – Stuart Mann, heating, ventilation and air-condition technician with Integrated Engineering Services.
Preventative Safety Action, sponsored by Nexen Petroleum UK – John Roper, scaffolder/safety technician with RBG.
Most Promising Individual, sponsored by Draeger Safety UK – Victoria Lee, trainee health, safety, environment and quality adviser with BIS Salamis.
Innovation in Safety, sponsored by ABB Engineering Services – BP’s Schiehallion floating production vessel.
Services to Safety – Bob Kyle, safety consultant with Oil and Gas UK.