The tripartite body established to spearhead safety improvements in the oil and gas industry has split from the offshore trade association citing “confusion over roles, functions and relationships”.
From 1 January, Step Change in Safety, which was a subsidiary of Oil and Gas UK, will instead be owned by its 137 members from across the oil and gas industry supply chain.
Step Change in Safety will be governed by a board of directors, which will include senior representatives from member companies, union and HSE representatives and offshore safety representatives.
The body was established in 1997 with the aim of reducing the UK offshore injury rate by 50%. Its current aim is to make the North Sea the safest oil province in the world. It brings together operators and contractors, trade unions, regulators and the onshore and offshore workforce to drive imporvements.
Les Linklater, executive director for Step Change in Safety, said: “In 2007 Step Change in became a subsidiary of Oil and Gas UK, but the model led to confusion over roles, functions and relationships.
“Independence creates better distinction between the two organisations with greater autonomy. We will be owned and managed by our members to ensure we represent every part of the oil and gas industry.
“While Step Change in Safety’s legal entity has changed, our purpose remains the same: to continuously improve the safety of the North Sea. We cannot do this without collaborating with operators, contactors, regulators and the unions: being member-owned will ensure levels of collaboration increase as we continue to serve the onshore and offshore workforce day in, day out.”
Lewis Macdonald, Scottish Labour’s energy spokesperson, said the move could be positive one during what is a volatile period for the sector as the oil price continues to fall.
“The news is fairly positive, because it includes representations from the trade unions and the Health and Safety Executive,” he told STV Aberdeen. “We have to make sure that the current fall in oil prices isn't used as a reason to cut corners when it comes to safety.
“There have been strides forward in this area during the last few years, but we can't afford to stand still. We have to take care in a climate of uncertainty that safety is not compromised. I am confident that Step Change in Safety will want to press home that message in the future.”
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