Offshore Safety Standards

Offshore Safety Standards

Campaign to restore the the stand alone, specialist Offshore Safety Division (OSD) of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

On 6th July this year, the union participated in events in Aberdeen to commemorate the 167 lives lost in the tragic Piper Alpha accident a quarter of a century ago. Piper Alpha remains the worst safety incident in the history of the offshore oil and gas industry.

In pursuit of the continuous improvement to offshore safety standards recommended by Cullen, the union has recently been campaigning to restore the stand alone, specialist Offshore Safety Division (OSD) of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The OSD was established in 1991 in line with the Cullen Review’s specific recommendations around the regulatory regime for offshore safety:

  • There should be a single regulatory body for offshore safety;
  • The single regulatory body should discharge the safety functions in relation to fire-fighting and life saving appliances;
  • Regulation of offshore safety should in future be discharged by a discrete division of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which is exclusively devoted to offshore safety.

The union was therefore dismayed when the HSE announced at a meeting with the offshore unions and industry on 19th March 2013 that planned internal restructuring will involve the abolition of the OSD and the transfer of offshore safety inspectors into a new ‘Energy Division’ with responsibility for gas, pipeline and mining, as well as offshore safety. The unions and industry were not consulted about this fundamental change to the Cullen inspired offshore safety regime.


In response to this attack, the Parliamentary Group has tabled early day motion 192 to highlight the impact on the workforce and deeply insensitive timing. 30 MPs have signed this to date and members may wish to ask their own MP to sign it if they have not already added their name. EDM 192 is online here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/192

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