The Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG) is today publishing a new report, ‘Safety Critical Offshore Workers in the UK Oil and Gas Sector: Hours, Shifts and Schedules’, commissioned from the Scottish Centre for Employment Research (SCER), Strathclyde University.
The report draws on current research evidence to consider the implications for health, safety and wellbeing of a change from two weeks offshore, two weeks onshore (2/2) to three weeks offshore/onshore (3/3) working schedules.
The report: • finds that “the current available evidence does not allow clear conclusions to be drawn about whether working regular three week tours poses significant health and safety risks but…there are suggestions this may indeed be the case”; and, • identifies a number of areas of health and safety concern that could be ‘particularly problematic’ in a three week tour offshore including fatigue, increased potential of severe accidents, excess overtime, older installations and mid-shift changes in rotation (e.g. switching from day-to-night shift from night-to-day shift). Speaking on publication of the report, Tommy Campbell, OCG Chair and Unite, said:
“This OCG commissioned this report in response to the widespread concern of the offshore workforce over the imposition of new working patterns and the possible impact on safety and safety culture as a result of the current economic downturn in the North Sea. The report provides a sober and detailed assessment of the potential impact on individual workers and offshore safety regimes of the move towards 3/3 working. Its findings suggest that workers’ concerns are more than justified and that operators must now cease implementation of 3/3 schedules in order that legitimate concerns can be properly addressed by all relevant authorities.
“Government at all levels and regulatory agencies must pressure operators to stop using these potentially dangerous new working patterns and fund additional research into their impact on health, safety and wellbeing”.
Jake Molly, OCG Vice-Chair and RMT said:
“The OCG strongly believes that offshore workers, or indeed workers in any safety critical occupation, should not be forced to work 21 straight days of 12 hours shifts. However too many operators have taken advantage of the turbulence caused by the falling oil price to implement these very work schedules. This report strongly suggests that the industry as a whole needs to urgently address the safety implications of 3/3 working before real damage is done”.
1 The OCG was recently established to coordinate trade union policy and campaigns in the oil and gas sector. The following unions are members of the OCG: Unite, RMT, GMB, BALPA and Nautilus International.
2 The report, ‘Safety Critical Offshore Workers in the UK Oil and Gas Sector: Hours, Shifts and Schedules’ can be accessed on the OCG’s new website
Contact Kevin Buchanan or Stephen Boyd 0141 337 8100