Serious doubts over the safety of offshore rig workers in the oil and gas industries have been raised by a report published the Commons Transport Committee.
The Committee’s examination and report, which followed an accident in which four Super Puma helicopter passengers were killed, refers to "troubling evidence about a macho bullying culture in the oil and gas industry" and suggests that in some cases offshore workers who became concerned about helicopter safety were told to put on their “big-boy pants” or “leave the industry” if they were unable to deal with the risks involved.
In concluding the report, the Transport Committee stated that an inquiry was required in order to determine if the safety of offshore workers was being affected by commercial pressure from oil and gas companies.
Commenting on the issue, Committee Chairwoman Louise Ellman MP said: "After four accidents in five years, offshore workers' confidence in helicopter safety is understandably low.”
Ms Ellman continued: “Despite work by the Civil Aviation Authority serious questions remain unanswered about offshore helicopter safety in the competitive commercial environment of the North Sea. We fear a creeping complacency may be affecting safety standards.”
RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash also commented on the matter by stating: "There are now no excuses for the Government, helicopter operators or oil and gas companies. They must take clear and immediate steps to reduce the threat to offshore workers' safety from helicopter transport, reduce accident rates, improve survivability and listen to offshore workers' concerns about the safety of the helicopters they rely on."
Frank Doran MP also spoke on the matter. He added: "I know from my contact with workers offshore there is still deep concern about health and safety in this area. Only a full public inquiry will give the workforce and their families the confidence that they desperately need."
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