HSE Urges Investment in Safety for the Offshore Industry

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) urged the offshore industry to make further investments to protect the growing number of workers and to meet its future safety goals.

HSE safety statistics for the offshore industry for 2006/07 published today show that two workers were killed and 39 suffered major injuries. This compares to two fatalities and 50 major injuries in 2005/06. The combined fatal and major injury rate decreased by 35 per cent to 145.51 per 100,000 workers compared with 225.4 in 2005/06.

Responding to the statistics released today Geoffrey Podger, HSE Chief Executive said, "This year’s figures for major injuries show a significant improvement and are at the lowest level for ten years despite the very significant increase in the number of those working offshore, which is welcomed. But we must not forget that despite this, two people died and 39 were seriously injured which is unacceptable. It is disappointing that the rate of less serious injuries involving three or more days off work has improved little since 2003 and this year increased by 7%." This year alone the industry has seen a 22.12 per cent increase in the number of offshore workers, according to an industry based database.

Mr. Podger continued, "HSE inspectors will continue to be tough on poor performers and focus on the fundamental safety issues offshore which are plant integrity, systems of work, supervision, risk assessment and competence. Poor safety record is just not acceptable and our inspectors will tackle it at every level in the workforce."

"Statistics suggest that the number of dangerous occurrences, many of which have the potential to develop into more serious incidents, have continued to reduce. However the number of major and significant hydrocarbon releases, one key indicator as to how major hazard risks are being managed, went up and that is of particular concern.

The UK offshore industry faces considerable challenges if it intends to achieve its aim of being the safest offshore sector in the world by 2010 and need to make significant improvements in accident performance to achieve this."

Headline statistics (Based on provisional figures for 2006/2007)

  • the main causes of major and fatal injuries were related to slips/trips/fall (19), being trapped, struck by or striking against equipment (8), or injuries associated with lifts/pulls/pushes/swinging of loads (7) accounting for 83% of the total;
  • 15 major injuries were to the upper limb[1]
  • 25 major injuries were due to fracture.[2]
  • The number of reported over-3-day injuries has increased this year by 39 to 164 (31.2%)
  • 484 dangerous occurrences were reported, which is 7 less than during 2005/06, representing a decrease of 0.2%;
  • Main types of dangerous occurrences reported were Hydrocarbon releases (35.5%), fail equipment offshore (26.4%) fail well (8.9%) and lift related (6%).

[1] Upper limb includes finger/thumbs, hand, wrist and rest of upper limb.

[2] Fractures to fingers, thumbs or toes are classed as over-3-day injuries and not as major injuries.

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