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HSE and step change in safety join forces for offshore Europe

HSE InfoLine : 29 August, 2003  (Technical Article)
The Heath and Safety Executive and Step Change in Safety have joined forces at this year's Offshore Europe Conference and Exhibition by sharing a stand to promote 'Working in Partnership'.
This is the first time that HSE and industry have come together in this way at Offshore Europe. The aim is to reinforce the message of working together to secure the shared target of the UK being the safest sector in the world oil and gas industry by 2010.

Head of HSE's Offshore Division Taf Powell said, 'Offshore employers, the trade unions and HSE met in 2002 and agreed that there was more work to be done in improving health and safety performance in the UK offshore industry. Incidents of serious injury and fatality, which had been falling during the nineties, had reached a plateau. We decided a new approach was needed so that all of us work together, targeting areas of high risk, sharing expertise and resources to drive down hazards in our industry'.

'Step Change in Safety was rejuvenated, and senior managers from the industry, trade unionists, myself and other HSE staff are now working together, where we can and respecting our distinctions, to make a real difference to health and safety offshore'.

Tom Botts, Chair of Step Change in Safety, said: 'We can all be encouraged by the areas of improvement in safety performance we have seen in the last few years. Those who deserve credit for such improvements are the thousands of individuals working in our industry who, every minute of every working day, are actively planning for safety, identifying risks, controlling those risks and intervening in or stopping jobs when they feel something is not quite right.

'There is real interest across the industry to become involved in Step Change and to work together to reduce injuries and share best practices. In the last 12 months we have seen an additional 40 companies and organisations register their interest to participate in Step Change, taking the total number of companies and organisations to 120.

'Working in partnership, which is visibly demonstrated by Step Change and the HSE on this year's Offshore Europe stand, signals the value industry places on partnering with the HSE to proactively reduce fatalities and injuries in the oil and gas industry in the UK. We are in a strong position, building on the very good work that Step Change has done in the last six years.

'I am confident that we are making positive progress towards achieving and sustaining our industry vision to be 'the safest place to work in the world wide oil and gas industry by 2010'.'

Graham Tran, Regional Officer, Amicus said: 'The trade unions have for a number of years supported the Step Change forum. Much has been achieved and there is no doubt that further improvements can and will be achieved. The trade unions fully recognise the roles played by all parties in this process, and in particular the role played by the offshore workforce. It is important that we continue with the improvement process if we are to meet the vision for 2010. One of the major attributes to the process is the communication chain and the coming together of the stakeholders at Offshore Europe supports this positive thinking.'

Mr Powell added 'Much work has been done - for example in joining forces to drive to zero the high rate of fatal and serious incidents in deck and drilling operations by targeting root causes. But we need sustained commitment from all concerned in the years ahead to achieve the challenging goal of the world's safest offshore sector.

'The HSE Step Change stand at Offshore Europe will be staffed with people from all parts of the industry who want to demonstrate to visitors just what has and can be, achieved. I hope you can visit us there.'
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