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Offshore workers fear for their health and safety

Offshore workers fear for their health and safety

21 December 2016

Nearly 60 per cent of offshore workers say that health and safety standards have dropped in the last six months – and Scotland’s biggest offshore union is demanding action. 

In a survey carried out by Unite the union, some 58.5 per cent of offshore workers said standards had dropped, with 38.2 per cent saying they had stayed the same and just 3.2 per cent saying they had improved. 

Some 38.5 per cent of workers said they had been placed in a position where they have been unable to report an incident for fear of victimisation. 

And 82.8 per cent of workers said there had seen a reduction of skilled personnel, which has created issues around productivity and the ability to perform work tasks.

Unite is now calling for a confidential whistleblowing helpline where offshore workers could raise concerns. Some 86.9 per cent of workers supported the plan. 

Unite regional officer William Wallace: “Every one of us in this country relies on the oil and gas produced by our offshore members. They do a difficult and dangerous job and their health and safety should be a paramount concern for all of us. 

“But this survey shows a very worrying picture. Unite knows that North Sea operators are facing challenges due to falling oil prices. But companies have to realise that they can’t prop up their profits - or create a sustainable industry - by simply reducing the numbers of skilled workers on the job.

“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. 

“No worker should feel victimised for raising these issues. The consequences could be catastrophic.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For more information or to arrange an interview contact Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631 / david.eyre@unitetheunion.org

Unite’s survey was carried out in October / November 2016. It was completed by a total of 779 offshore workers. Some 93 per cent were members of Unite.