Offshore Oil & Gas industry safety standards have fallen, says Unite the Union

Offshore industry safety standards have fallen, says Unite union


Health and safety standards in the oil and gas sector have dropped in the past six months, according to Unite.

The union surveyed more than 700 offshore workers, and more than 58% claimed standards had fallen, with 38% saying it had stayed the same. Just over 3% reported an improvement.

The union said 38.5% of respondents felt unable to report an incident because of fear of victimisation.

Industry body Oil and Gas UK said safety was its highest priority.

Unite called for a whistleblowing helpline to be set up.

Regional officer William Wallace: “This survey shows a very worrying picture

“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.”

Anonymous report

Trish Sentance, health and safety manager at Oil & Gas UK, said: “Just under 50% of those who responded felt health and safety offshore had stayed the same or improved, but we do acknowledge that concerns have been raised.

“Safe operations has to be at the heart of everything we do and there is always more work to be done. However, it is good to see that the majority responding have felt able to report an incident.

“Industry takes the issue of health and safety very seriously and we would always encourage those with concerns to come forward to report these.

“For those wishing to make an anonymous report there is an industry wide confidential Health & Safety Executive phone-line already in place.”

The industry body said senior in senior industry representatives meet regularly with the offshore unions, through the Offshore Co-ordinating Group, and health and safety is “always central to the discussion”.

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December 2015

Offshore union RMT sets out five critical points as it calls for “crisis management” plan to rescue British jobs and infrastructure in wake of oil price slump

OFFSHORE UNION RMT today set out five critical  points as it calls for a plan of action from politicians both north and south of the border to rescue British jobs and infrastructure in the offshore industry in the wake of the oil price slump.

People; RMT has major concerns about the impact of cost-cutting across the sector. We are hearing from workers with several different operators (Total, Apache, Shell and others) that terms and conditions are to be slashed in an effort to reduce costs. The most worrying element of these cuts are the proposed changes to working patterns which could see workers currently working 2-weeks on, 3-weeks off, being altered to either 2-on, 2-off; or 3-on, 3-off. These changes if pushed through will see significant redundancies and a loss of experience and ‘corporate memory’. For those remaining, the ‘safety culture’ we have developed over the last 5-years plus will be irreparably damaged as working hours increase significantly whilst income stands still. Talk of low morale is already widespread, which in a major hazard industry should be cause for concern.

Hardware; The cost-cutting agenda will see major redevelopment/refurbishment projects delayed indefinitely, as investment dries up. For some installations this will be of serious concern. The Health & Safety Executive Key Programmes 3 & 4, ‘Asset Integrity’ and ‘Ageing Infrastructure’ respectively, are wholly reliant on investment for redevelopment/refurbishment, without it many installations will be run inefficiently and moreover with greater risks and hazards. History demonstrates that during each and every downturn which the sector has suffered we have come close to disaster and the fatality rate has increased. The pressure to reduce costs, but maintain production, creates scenarios like the Shell Brent Bravo incident of 2003; insufficient numbers of motivated people avoiding the risk of losing production by doing little or no intrusive maintenance on safety critical equipment so leaving us a spark away from another Piper Alpha disaster.

Regulating and auditing; The HSE will be stretched to maximum capacity trying to deal with the introduction of the new EU Offshore Safety Directive which will require every installation to submit their respective safety cases. The impacts of cost-cutting may well elude the inspectorate as they deal with the ‘paperwork’ of safety case assessment and they are already under resourced. The Offshore Elected Safety Representatives (ESR’s) are enthusiastic, committed amateurs and undoubtedly are making a difference. However, the ESR’s are primarily workers and are subject to the same pressures and constraints as their peers, therefore when faced with the same fears and threats their approach to auditing and inspecting will inevitably be impacted.

Sustainability; The frequently referred to ‘Wood Review’ sets out the ‘master plan’ for maximising recovery from the UK sector and sustaining production. However, the ‘collaboration’ required to enable this is reliant on the infrastructure being fit for purpose. New fields are smaller and more difficult to access so a means to transport the product to shore is critical to sustainability, which in turn means the existing infrastructure has to be maintained to the highest standard. The ‘Wood Review’ was drafted and based it’s projections on an oil price in excess of $100 a barrel. For all of the reasons set out above, that sustainability must now be at risk.

Decommissioning; if none of the issues above are addressed by innovative tax incentives during this difficult period, then we face the loss of the infrastructure and with it the ability to exploit remaining reserves. On top of this, the UK tax payer faces a massive bill – some estimate as much as £30 billion – for decommissioning and meeting the EU commitments on clean up. We need Westminster to adopt a crisis management approach and ensure sustained production, maintained infrastructure, retention of skills, and a robustly regulated regime.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“In the wake of the current price slump RMT is demanding that Westminster and the Scottish Parliament adopt a crisis management approach today to ensure sustained production, maintenance of infrastructure, retention of skills, and a robustly regulated regime in the future.

“If immediate action isn’t taken then we risk turning todays crisis into longer term damage that would threaten the very core of our offshore industry.

“With tens of thousands of jobs at stake, along with the prospect of lasting damage to infrastructure, production capacity and the safety culture, intervention is absolutely critical and that is the case that we are setting out today to the politicians north and south of the border and from all sides.”


Unite the Union calls for an Oil & Gas summit with all the stakeholders and Health & Safety concerns are among the points that Unite and our offshore membership want to see a significant increase in confidence of offshore oil & gas workers  within  their work-related health & safety  environment  covering a  range of  potential serious  health  & safety  risks and hazards  including  helicopter travel, critical safety maintenance,  potential  hydro – carbon releases.

Health & Safety offshore is no accident Unite along with Offshore trade unions demand  the highest H&S standards and training in a high-risk major hazard  sector


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Unite offshore members vote to reject OCA pay and conditions offer





Unite Scotland Press Release   

For immediate release: Thursday 15 December


Unite offshore members vote to reject pay and conditions offer


Members of Scotland’s biggest offshore trade union have overwhelmingly voted to reject a no-change pay and conditions offer from their employers.


Members of Unite were asked to vote on a proposal from the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA), the lead representative body for offshore contractor companies.


The proposal would have seen no increase in pay and no change to the conditions of members.


Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “Our members have made their views clear and we have informed the OCA of the result.


“We will now be looking to meet with the employers to get their reaction and to discuss how to take this matter forward. However, it is clear that the status quo is not an option.”


Unite, along with the GMB union, are seeking a wage increase for offshore members, along with improved sick pay and paid travel time.




For further information contact Unite Scotland regional officer Tommy Campbell on 07810 157920, or Unite Scotland Media & Communications Officer David Eyre on 07960 451631. Email


Notes to editors:


Twitter: @UniteScotland

Facebook: UniteScotland



Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with 150,000 members across the economy. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.

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Unite is the largest trade union in for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

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Police launch investigation into death of North Sea worker



Unite would like to  offer sincere  Condolences to all affected by this tragedy


Unite the Union Consultative ballot 2016/17 pay claim for employees covered under the Offshore Contractors(OCA) agreement





Hi  if you are a Unite member and an employee of the following companies  working offshore in the UKCS


Unite and the GMB unions have been in pay talks with the Offshore Contractors Association(OCA)  the pay claim on behalf of Union members was as follows

Joint  GMB/UNITE Pay & Conditions Claim – 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017

  The pay and conditions claim on behalf of Unite & GMB members: –

1.     Substantial Wage Increase

2.     Improved Sick Pay

3.     Introduce Paid Travel Time to employers onshore base

Unite & GMB Unions Statement


Paul Atkison Chief Exec OCA

We refer to  ongoing talks to consider our reasonable three-point claim and for the employers side to respond to the GMB & UNITE OCA pay and conditions claim for 2016/17.

The OCA employers side counter proposals are an unacceptable  response to our reasonable  three-point claim.

In these circumstances, we now confirm in writing that both GMB and UNITE are declaring a failure to agree and we will both report back to all Union members and  consult with  them on their response to this  unacceptable situation.

Tommy Campbell

Unite Regional Officer

On behalf of GMB and UNITE

Unite and GMB  members  have been consulted  on the  outcome of the pay  negotiations and have  advised   their respective unions  that they overwhelmingly  reject the proposals

The OCA agreement covers employees in the following companies offshore

Full Members

Associate Members
Of the 68 companies currently in the OCA, 56 are Associates. Please click on an Associate to find out more.

  • Wood Group Industrial Services

    OCA Board of Directors

    Below are details of the OCA’s Executives and Directors.

    Paul Atkinson, chief executive of the OCA,

    • Mr Alan Johnstone | AMEC Foster Wheeler plc
    • Mr Andrew Ferguson | Petrofac Facilities Management
    • Mr Craig Wiggins | Aker Offshore Partner Ltd
    • Mr Erik-Jan Bijvank | Stork Technical Services Ltd
    • Mr John Macdonald | Muehlhan Surface Protection Ltd
    • Mr Michael Hockey | ECIA
    • Mr Mick Herke | BEIS
    • Mr Paul Birch | Wood Group PSN
    • Mr Simon Hicks | Cape plc

Source OCA website

If you are an employee  of  a company  who are part of the OCA  agreement and work offshore and  a fully paid up Unite the Union member  you will be able to take part in the online consultative  ballot  , all members who have a current e – mail address have been sent the following e -mail and  relevant paperwork attached.

Dear Member(Your Name),

OCA Pay and Conditions claim 2016/17 The outcome of the recent GMB/UNITE consultative ballot of the OCA employers offer was an overwhelming rejection to their proposed changes in your terms and conditions of employment.

UNITE and GMB Union Officials and Workplaces Reps have met again with the OCA employers and reiterated the serious concerns union members have about the negative impact of job losses, the move to 3/3 rotations and their opposition to any cuts in their pay.

The OCA employers have now formally responded to our representations. We attach the OCA letter for your consideration.

The OCA employers have now decided to withdraw their counter proposals but on the basis that the Unions set aside this year’s pay and conditions claim. This would in effect mean the status quo would prevail for this year’s pay and conditions claim.

We are now consulting you on this matter and would be grateful if you completed the online consultative ballot ASAP and return it no later than Thursday 15th December 2016.

Click here to vote in the ballot. [LINK}
You’ll need your unique ID:XXXXXXX

Please note that at the further talks with the OCA today we have agreed to meet early in the New Year to discuss matters of job security and the concerns you have about the H&S issues surrounding the 3/3 rotations.

We are also contacting ACAS about the review of the 3/3 rotas.

Yours sincerely,

Tommy Campbell                                                                    John Boland

Regional Officer                                                                     Regional Officer

PS. Please don’t reply to this email.


If you have any queries about the ballot or if you have not received notification to vote  please check your e – mails , in box and  filters , Please   do not hesitate to contact  the Unite Aberdeen office:

on or call 01224 645  271

If you work offshore and not already a trade union member ,get protected at work today!

Join Unite the Union , have a say in Your future , Your work and Your pay

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Unite is the largest trade union in for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Check out 10 good reasons why you should join Unite.

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Balpa said fatigue was top of its members’ concerns across all types of airline.



by airlines, poll says


Written by – 08/12/2016 6:00 am

Thousands of pilots believe fatigue is not taken seriously enough by airlines, according to a new survey.

London School of Economics said more than half of the 7,200 pilots who took part in its poll lacked confidence in carriers’ safety culture.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) said it was “not surprised” by the results, adding that its own survey had received similar responses.

Balpa said fatigue was top of its members’ concerns across all types of airline.

European Aviation Safety Agency flight time limitations that were introduced in February this year allow pilots to be rostered for shifts of up to 20 hours, it said.

Balpa’s head of flight safety, Rob Hunter, said: “Fatigue has been a growing issue among pilots and has only intensified since the introduction of EASA flight time limitations earlier this year. Balpa has been working with all airlines and carriers to improve their fatigue management.

“Our own survey with in collaboration with the CAA previously highlighted similar issues, with pilots not having confidence in their companies’ attitudes towards fatigue or reporting of fatigue.

“Safety is the top priority for pilots, as is demonstrated in the LSE’s survey, with 93% agreeing their colleagues take safety seriously.

“We welcome further research into safety culture, an important area that is often ignored, and hope that this latest survey will shine some light on the issues faced by today’s pilots.”