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UpstreamOnline: Shell talks on safety with HSE

4 October 2007

TOP level talks between the UK’s Health&Safety Executive (HSE) and Shell were due to be held this week to answer union complaints over safety issues, writes Christopher Hopson.

The HSE told Upstream that, after concerns raised by the unions, its officials had visited Shell’s Cormorant Alpha platform on 27 September to investigate.

An HSE spokesman said: “We are due to advise Shell of our initial findings on the afternoon of 3 October.”

The safety watchdog said its initial findings were fed back to the management and workforce at a joint offshore meeting on 28 September.

The spokesman added: “We are also seeking to arrange a meeting with the unions to feed back to them findings from the investigation.”

Two unions, the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee (OILC) and Unite, had called on the HSE at the start of September to look at the “management of change” processes on installationsthat Shell have put up for sale–Cormorant Alpha and Dunlin Alpha as well as on Tern, Eider and North Cormorant.

The unions claimed that, since Shell announced divestment of the assets, communications between the company and the offshore workforce had declined to the point where it was impacting on operational safety.

Sources who attended the HSE meeting with management and staff on Cormorant Alpha revealed that the safety watchdog discovered a number of serious problems in the way the installation was being operated.

It is understood many staff on the platform were found to be working excessive hours.

Jake Molloy, general secretary of OILC, said his members on Cormorant Alpha believed the validity of their complaints had been upheld and were awaiting the final HSE report to confirm this was the case.

As Upstream went to press, Shell confirmed that a meeting was taking place at its offices in Aberdeen.

04 October 2007 23:01 GMT  | last updated: 04 October 2007 23:01 GMT

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