Oil & Gas UK have published their first ever Health and Safety Report which is set to become an annual feature. The report covers multiple areas including a detailed summary of the UK offshore oil and gas industry's safety performance (including summary of performance results for the period of 2011/2012), an overview of the various safety-related projects being carried out across the industry, an explanation of how the safety agenda is being effectively managed by Oil & Gas UK and its members and a look ahead to the future.

Robert Paterson, Oil & Gas UK's health and safety director, has commented that the report "provides a snapshot of the UK oil and gas industry's safety performance and the numerous ongoing projects being undertaken to continuously improve safety...the report serves to underline the fact that the UK has one of the most robust offshore health and safety regimes in the world. The reason it is strong is because we're not complacent and we're always looking for ways to improve or to make things safer."

In terms of safety performance, some of the main findings include the following observations:

  • Despite its hazardous nature, in terms of non-fatal injuries to workers, the offshore oil and gas industry is the third-best performer in the UK - only being out-performed by the education and finance/business sectors;
  • There has been a noticeable and steady reduction in the incidence of over-three-day injuries which represent a reduction of almost 70 per cent in the last 15 years. Major and fatal injury rates have fluctuated, but overall are also making a steady decline;
  • The UK's figures for lost time injury frequencies (LTIF) has been analysed against worldwide statistics published by the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP). The UK is sitting below the LTIF average, which is good news, but statistics show other countries are achieving better results. Global comparisons should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt as we have to consider the different reporting requirements from region to region;
  • Since 2000 the HSE has had a particular focus on reducing hydrocarbon releases and asset integrity management. The industry is now two-thirds of the way through a programme to reduce hydrocarbon releases by 50 per cent. Already, there has been a 40 per cent reduction in major and significant releases which illustrates that the target figure is achievable. In fact, major and significant releases in 2011/2012 are at an all time low.

The report also details the ongoing projects Oil & Gas UK are involved in, including:

  • European Commission's proposals for new regulation of offshore oil and gas health and safety: Oil & Gas UK are keen to reinforce their belief that EU regulation is a poorly conceived idea. They seek a properly-worded directive instead that would have less of an adverse effect on the UK's existing robust legislation and are seeking to work with the EC;
  • Increased focus on asset ageing and life extension;
  • Support of the industry hydrocarbon releases reduction target.

To read the publication in full please click here.

This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to www.law-now.com/law-now/mondaq

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The original publication date for this article was 13/07/2012.