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'Shell makes a killing ' - Tom McLaren, Principal Inspector HSE Offshore Division responds

Letters
Private Eye
6 Carlisle Street
London
W1D 3BN
17 May 2005

Sir,

Your article “Shell Makes a Killing” (1132) is misleading in reporting that ‘no serious action was taken’ by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following union complaints about Shell’s business improvement project and possible safety implications for its offshore installations.

HSE did in fact launch a programme of visits by inspectors to Shell offices and to three of Shell's installations: Cormorant Alpha, Brent Charlie and Nelson – platforms that the unions had identified as posing particular risk to workers’ safety.

They interviewed 150 employees, carried out an in depth, 3,000 man-hour examination of Shell's systems and procedures for managing maintenance of safety critical equipment in the Brent field.

The investigation identified a need for Shell to improve its system for assessing the risks posed by its restructuring plan and for auditing the changes it introduced. As a result, HSE agreed with Shell an extensive remedial programme to deal with this.

Tom McLaren
Principal Inspector HSE Offshore Division
Lord Cullen House
Fraser Place
Aberdeen AB25 3UB

Updated 2013-01-23