Richard Baker MSP has a debate in Holyrood tomorrow (Thursday 26th September) on the safety of offshore oil and gas workers, focusing on the August 23rd Super Puma helicopter crash and the fatal accident inquiry process.
RMT’s core points are:
• Why do health and safety standards in the UK offshore industry still lag behind those of the Norwegian offshore industry?
• While RMT welcome the CAA’s announcement of a review of North Sea helicopter operations, and the involvement of Norwegian aviation regulators, it must be seen as an addition and not a substitute for the Public Inquiry the union is demanding into the 23rd August Super Puma tragedy.
• RMT demands an end to bogus self-employment arrangements and calls for guaranteed trade union access to workers in the offshore workplace which would greatly improve safety standards on rigs and the helicopters transporting workers to and from installations.
• There must be a recognition that the families of those who lost their lives in the April 2009 disaster have lost confidence in the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal due to the failure to explain why no one would be prosecuted for this tragedy and for suppressing information.
• With nearly 5 years passing since that tragedy, RMT support the aims of Patricia Ferguson MSP’s Inquiries into Deaths (Scotland) Bill and particularly the role for families in the process, establishing shorter time frames for the launch and duration of FAIs and giving FAIs real teeth.
• RMT also supports a generational approach to reviewing offshore health and safety standards on the principle that pro-active and continuous monitoring and updating is the alternative to reacting after the event.
Bob Crow, General Secretary of offshore union RMT, said:
“This weeks debate in the Scottish Parliament gives us the opportunity to raise the core points that RMT believes must be addressed to change the safety culture in Britain’s offshore energy industry. The comparisons with Norway are stark and in our view are directly related to the fact that the Norwegian trade unions have the right of access to every part of their fields.
“There are still so many outstanding issues from previous tragedies and the failures of the current FAI process and RMT is backing the families of those who have lost their lives in the fight for justice.
“While RMT welcomes the CAA investigation into helicopter safety it should be seen as an addition and not a substitute for the full Public Inquiry that RMT is demanding into the Super Puma tragedy in the North Sea on August 23rd.
“RMT is also demanding an investigation in to North Sea safety which extends beyond just the use of helicopters but which covers every aspect of the offshore working environment. 25 years after Piper Alpha the industry owes its workforce nothing less than that.”