The 6th of July 2013 marks 25 years since 167 colleagues lost their lives in the oil industry’s largest ever disaster. Oil and Gas People got behind a campaign that hopes to restore the Piper Alpha memorial gardens in Aberdeen back to gold status in time for the 25th Anniversary.
Thousands of lives were affected by the Piper Alpha tragedy in the North Sea and the Piper Alpha dens not only serve as a tribute to the men lost but also act as a constant reminder of the dangers associated with working offshore. The 6th of July 2013 marks 25 years since 167 colleagues lost their lives in the oil industry’s largest ever disaster. Oil and Gas People got behind a campaign that hopes to restore the Piper Alpha memorial gardens in Aberdeen back to gold status in time for the 25th Anniversary.
In many ways the 25th anniversary is also a celebration. Every single person working in the oil and gas industry today is safer as a result of the Cullen enquiry which followed the disaster and made sweeping safety changes, changes that we have no doubt have saved countless lives since. We have included all our site members in this campaign as the Piper Alpha findings didn’t only make the industry safer in the UK but did so globally. The lessons learned from the disaster should never be forgotten and nor should the men who lost their lives and the family’s still effected to this day.
Piper Alpha disaster memorial gardens £1m campaign launched
The 1988 North Sea oil platform tragedy saw 167 men die, the world’s worst such incident. A statue and the memorial gardens are a major feature at Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Park.
Piper Memorial Trust
The Plan: Pound for Piper is working with Oil and Gas UK and the local council to set up a Trust Fund to ensure the gardens are not just restored but are also maintained for generations to come. Oil and Gas People is calling on the industry to unite and get behind this important campaign. You can make a donation via our Just Giving Page or if you wish to be more involved you can help further by organising collections in your workplace or holding your own sponsored event. We really hope all our site members can pull together on this one and dig deep.
Safety legacy left by Piper Alpha
The lessons of the Piper Alpha disaster should mean future generations of offshore workers are safer, industry experts have said. Industry safety experts and workers new to life offshore say they believe practices are now better. They believe better platform design, new work systems and greater workforce involvement have improved safety. An inquiry led by Lord Cullen opened in Aberdeen in January 1989, ended in February 1990, and published its 500-page report nine months later. This led to North Sea safety being shifted from the Department of Energy to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Among changes was automatic shut-down valves being made mandatory on rigs, to starve a fire of fuel. Offshore fatalities and serious injuries are down, and minor injuries are substantially down.
However, incidents such as gas escapes have risen. Oil and Gas UK is the body representing operators and contractors in the North Sea. Oil and Gas UK director of health and safety, Chris Allen, said: “Piper Alpha was a turning point for the UK oil and gas industry, leading to significant changes in the industry’s approach to safety management, regulation and training. “It’s important to remember that the hazards will always exist.”But given the changes the industry has made, the industry is in a different place, which means we can manage the risks much better. Today the offshore industry compares well with many other industries.”Oil and Gas UK is using the 25th anniversary of the disaster to reinforce the safety message offshore. It has produced a DVD that is being sent to all North Sea installations. Jake Molloy, of the OILC/RMT union, said despite safety improvements in the years since there can never be complacency. He said: “The industry has learned lessons and we continue to learn lessons.”There is no doubt that significant improvements in safety have been made across the industry in the 25 years since Piper.
Mr Molloy explained: “The regulations that have been introduced coupled with the installation of improved hardware should prevent another disaster on the scale of Piper Alpha. I say ‘should’ because we can never say never.” Regulations must be adhered to and the hardware will only ever be as good as the people charged with looking after it. People are therefore key to ensuring safety standards are maintained and improved upon.”The HSE said some companies are better performers than others. Piper Alpha was the world’s worst offshore disaster, and those involved in the industry are determined to ensure that remains the case.Piper Alpha was the world’s worst offshore disaster, but there have been many more devestating oil platform and accidents through shipping that have caused much harm to people and the environment.
Oil and Gas UK