Offshore union warns over 'Piper Alpha mistakes'

Piper Alpha oil rig explosion 1988

Piper Alpha oil rig explosion 1988

The oil industry is in danger of making the same mistakes it did in the years before the Piper Alpha disaster, an offshore union boss warns.

Jake Molloy, from the RMT union, said a "demoralised" workforce was facing constant attacks on their terms and conditions.

Speaking at the STUC conference in Dundee, Mr Molloy said the same thing had happened in 1986.

The Piper Alpha platform exploded in July 1988, killing 167 men.

The Spiral to Disaster training video in the BBC Disaster Series that offers safety training relevant to safety on oil rigs. (Click on the links to watch the related videos.)

The STUC backed a series of motions calling for urgent government intervention to "alleviate the pressures on employers and jobs across the UK Continental Shelf, ensuring occupational health and safety standards and collective agreements are protected and strengthened, and industry impositions are ended".

'Demoralised workforce'
The conference also noted "the backlog of safety critical maintenance work has grown significantly since summer 2014".

Mr Molloy, regional organiser of the RMT's offshore energy branch, said: "Everything that we are seeing in the offshore sector today was played out in 1986 - everything.

In just two short summers, in 1988, the Piper Alpha blew apart and took 167 men. We cannot and must not allow this industry to make the same mistakes again.

Casualisation, long hours and a demoralised workforce living under constant threat of attacks to their terms and conditions and the ever-present threat of redundancy.

"It wasn't the way to run an industry in 1986 and it took the deaths of 167 men to prove that."

Source: BBC