Survey: 60% of North Sea Workers Say Safety Standards Declining
Almost 60 percent of surveyed workers in the North Sea believe that health and safety standards have dropped in the last six months, according to UK union Unite.
In Unite’s survey, 58.5 percent of offshore workers said standards had dropped, with 38.2 percent saying they had stayed the same and just 3.2 per cent saying they had improved.
According to the survey, 38.5 percent of workers also said they had been placed in a position where they have been unable to report an incident for fear of victimization, and 82.8 percent said there had been a reduction of skilled personnel, which has created issues around productivity and the ability to perform work tasks.
“Unfortunately the results that came back are quite concerning to us and we believe there is an ongoing problem with the standard of safety offshore,” Unite Regional Officer William Wallace told BBC Radio Scotland Wednesday.
Following the results of the survey, Unite is calling for a confidential whistleblowing helpline to be created where offshore workers could raise concerns. Just under 87 percent of workers supported the plan.
When asked by the BBC if there were any support lines currently available to workers, Wallace said the only system available could be being jeopardized by a fear of job losses.
“There is at the present time a health and safety website that you can log onto and raise a concern,” Wallace said.
“The difficulty that our members have with that [is]…they have no confidence that that won’t be tracked back to them as an individual or as a group of workers…at a time when they’re still looking in areas for job loss. People believe that if they raise safety concerns that could come back to bite them when they’re looking at reducing numbers,” he added.
Offshore workers do a difficult and dangerous job and their health and safety should be a paramount concern, Wallace said in a statement sent to Rigzone.
“Unite knows that North Sea operators are facing challenges due to falling oil prices. But companies have to realize that they can’t prop up their profits - or create a sustainable industry - by simply reducing the numbers of skilled workers on the job,” Wallace stated.
“And companies should never – ever – make cuts that threaten health and safety and put the lives of our members at risk. The lessons of Piper Alpha should never be forgotten. We will be calling on the industry to work with health and safety bodies, with the trade unions, and with government so that we can get a confidential helpline created,” he added.
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