AN OIL company will today launch a fight against claims that staff working on one of its offshore platforms suffer from a lack of privacy.
Talisman Energy was served with an improvement notice earlier this year after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an inspection on the Tartan Alpha platform, 117 miles north-east of Aberdeen.
Inspectors claim workers are suffering from a “loss of privacy” and “insufficient showering and toilet facilities” because too many are accommodated there.
The HSE ordered the Aberdeen-based firm to make changes to the platform’s accommodation area after discovering more than two personnel were being allocated to the same cabin during a single 24-hour period.
Officials claim this breaches Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction etc) Regulations 1996.
Talisman launched an appeal however, and will now make their case to three employment judges at a tribunal in Aberdeen.
Yesterday a request to adjourn the hearing to allow Talisman more time to prepare was thrown out, and it was ruled proceedings will begin today.
James Gray, the solicitor representing the oil firm, asked for an adjournment so he could further examine three expert reports provided for the HSE which he said went “far beyond” the “narrow terms” of the improvement notice.
He said the documents, which are supplementary to reports written earlier this year, raised various issues regarding safety and the company’s ability to estimate production forecasts.
Mr Gray added: “The supplementary reports raise a number of factual issues which are required to be resolved and raise a number of technical issues which require to be explored and investigated further.
“There are a number of factors set out – some of which I accept have been raised in earlier reports, but some which have not – in regards to the general negative effects of sharing cabin accommodation. Some of these ought to have been raised before.”
Chris Dickson, acting for the HSE, objected to the motion for an adjournment and claimed it meant offshore workers would be working in poor conditions for longer.
He said that if there were three or four workers sharing a cabin, it meant they would be unable to have 12 hours of privacy, or have 24-hour access to the cabin.
In contrast, he said, if it was two people, they would have reasonable access and privacy.
Mr Dickson also rejected claims about new information in the report, and said any new detail was in response to points made by Talisman’s expert.
Tribunal judge Reginald Christie ruled the hearing should go ahead as planned and it will get under way this morning. It is expected to last at least 10 days.