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June 24, 2009

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Offshore workers positive about workforce involvement

Nine out of ten oil and gas workers have reported that they feel sufficiently involved in health and safety in their workplace, and have rated health and safety management on platforms as good or very good, according to a survey by the HSE.

Carried out in March this year, more than 3800 offshore workers were questioned to gain an insight into how oil companies manage health and safety, and what role the workforce play in that management.

There was very high agreement (98 per cent) that it is important for the workforce to be involved in health and safety, with 79 per cent strongly in agreement. A very large majority (92 per cent) also agreed that senior managers valued workforce involvement in health and safety, while 86 per cent felt they were actively contributing to the management of health and safety.

There is also little sign that workers are worried about losing their jobs if they raise health and safety concerns, suggesting that this practice, known as Not Required Back, and on which the industry has recently promised to crack down, is the experience of a minority of workers.

Sixty per cent strongly agreed that they are encouraged to raise health and safety concerns in their workplace, and a further 35 per cent tended to agree. Nine out of ten respondents said they are confident their health and safety concerns would be dealt with appropriately. And the same proportion either strongly agreed, or agreed that their job security would not be threatened if they stopped a job they thought was unsafe.

However, a clear majority — seven out of ten respondents — said they had not been consulted on the safety case, with direct employees of oil and gas companies far more likely to have been consulted (42 per cent) than those working as contractors (26 per cent). Only 13 per cent of workers felt that changes had been made to the safety case as a result of workforce consultation.

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