The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released statistics showing an increase in major injuries and unplanned hydrocarbon releases and has warned the offshore industry to ‘up its game’ in identifying and rectifying the causes of such events.
The figures show that there were 50 major injuries reported in 2009/10, an increase of 20 from 2008/09. The figure is also higher than the average of 42 over the previous five years. Whilst no workers were killed in activities regulated by the HSE for the third year running, the HSE has noted that the figures do not include the 17 offshore workers killed in other offshore related travel incidents.
Of particular concern to the HSE is the increase in major and significant hydrocarbon releases from 61 in 2008/2009 to 85 in 2009/2010. The HSE has described this type of event as a ‘key indicator’ of how well the offshore industry is managing its major accident potential. Other key statistics include the doubling of the combined fatal and major injuries rate from 106 per 100 000 workers in 2008/09 to 192 in 2009/10, and the reduction in the minor over three day injury rate to 414 workers per 100 000 for 2009/10, down from 496 per 100 000 in 2008/09.
The figures released by the HSE are only provisional, with a more detailed statistical analysis due to be published in October. They cover fatalities, injuries, ill health and dangerous occurrences reported to the HSE under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). The HSE has recognised that ‘the challenge to improve safety will be ever greater as more offshore installations exceed their original design life’ and has warned that it will continue to take a tough line on companies who put their workers at risk.