The offshore industry has been warned it “must continually think the unthinkable” in order to prevent another Piper Alpha disaster.
Deidre Michie, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, has been delivering her opening address at the Safety 30 conference at the AECC.
The event is marking 30 years since the tragedy when 167 people were killed.
Almost 700 people are attending the event, which is focussed on the safety legacy of Piper Alpha.
Ms Michie described it as a “watershed moment” for the industry and its health and safety regime.
She said: “Thirty years on from the Piper Alpha disaster, our conference provides an opportunity to consider and reflect on a number of themes: the past, the journey we have taken on safety over three decades driven by the legacy of that dreadful night and its aftermath; the present – the way in which operations today continue to be shaped as a result of Piper Alpha, and the future – the challenges we must embrace to ensure we retain a relentless focus on safe operations in an ever changing and challenging business and operational environment.
“Crucially we must continually think the unthinkable in our industry – as even though there was an appreciation of major accident hazards at risks at the time of Piper Alpha, the scale of the incident that unfolded was unimaginable. And quite rightly, it represented a watershed moment for health and safety in our industry.”
Her words were echoed by Martin Temple, chairman of the Health and Safety Executive.
He said: ““The impact of the Piper Alpha disaster created a ripple effect that had far reaching consequences, not just for the oil and gas industry but for the management of health and safety across all high hazard operations.
“As an industry – across regulators, operators and the supply chain we must remain focused on how our activities can prevent another major incident.”
Later this morning the conference will hear from Lord Cullen, who chaired the exhaustive public inquiry into the 1988 disaster which resulted in huge strides towards the health and safety regime currently in place for the sector.