Many offshore firms still fail to consult workers
Offshore workers' union RMT has criticised oil companies for 'fundamentally failing' to involve workers in health and safety matters on rigs and has demanded improvements. The union was commenting after the publication last week of a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) review of the effectiveness of the offshore safety representatives and safety committees regulations. Forty one installations were checked by last year by the safety watchdog. A total of 18 inspections resulted in formal letters because 'only partial compliance was evident and action was required to bring about improvements.' The report says 'satisfactory evidence of compliance was observed on 23 of the installations', although verbal advice was given at 16 of these sites. The report notes that one area where oil firms 'often failed to involve SRs (safety reps) was in consultation.' It recommended firms 'should review their own practice on consultation to make sure they maximise the opportunities for SR involvement in decisions that affect health and safety.' RMT regional organiser Jake Molloy commented: 'We've had these regulations for 22 years now and for each and every one of those 22 years industry stakeholders have been speaking about ways of improving 'workforce involvement' in health and safety. What this report shows is, the industry is fundamentally failing to involve workers in health and safety matters, as the most basic element in that process - consultation - is not occurring.' He added: 'It's clear the duty holders are either reluctant or unwilling to properly consult, after all they've had 22 years to get in the way of it! It's therefore time the safety reps were adequately equipped to fully engage with duty holders and compel them to consult with the workforce. To do this the scope of training for safety reps must be improved.' The report found there was a problem with 'limited use of powers' by safety reps.
RMT news release. HSE offshore worker involvement webpages. Offshore workforce involvement and consultation. Offshore Installations (Safety Representatives and Safety Committees) Regulations 1989: Compliance Inspection Project, HSE, 2011 [pdf]. STV Scotland.
Issued: 30 September, 2011