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February 22, 2010

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Research/reports- Health and safety link to offshore work patterns

Evidence of how the UK’s offshore working-time arrangements impact on

the health and safety, and performance, of North Sea oil and gas

workers has been reviewed in a report published by the HSE.

A new report issued by the Executive outlines the work patterns currently in use on North Sea installations, the legal framework of the Working Time Regulations as applied offshore, and the physical and psychosocial demands inherent in offshore work.

Following a review of the effects of working long hours and shifts on health and safety in onshore settings, the report presents detailed findings from offshore research into work/leave schedules, day/night shift rotation, and overtime hours, as well as their relevant contribution to workers’ performance, fatigue, alertness, sleep, and health.

Also reported are the views of health and safety specialists interviewed about offshore work/leave schedules, shift rotation, cumulative fatigue and rest offshore, and other aspects of working time arrangements.

Along with making some general recommendations, the final chapter identifies optimum work patterns where possible, and also notes existing gaps in the current body of research.

The report can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr772.pdf

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