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Head of Offshore Division responds offshore deaths article

Dear Editor,

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would like to clarify comments made in your article (Report 'ignores' offshore deaths, 6 August 2009).

While statistics released by HSE this week show that no workers were killed while working on offshore installations for over two years, HSE publicly acknowledged the tragic deaths of 17 people in separate offshore incidents in April this year.

Unfortunately your article fails to make clear that these types of fatalities were not included in the report because marine and air transport accidents and fatalities fall outside of HSE's remit and are reported on by other authorities.

I can assure you that HSE is not trying to paint a "rosy picture" of offshore safety. Instead we are focused on continuing to improve investment in safety and reducing the injury rate in the vital areas we regulate - on the offshore installations where some 28,000 live and work. We accept the recent deaths of 17 people overshadow what was a very encouraging performance in the industry. However, it should not be allowed to detract from the fact that the report indicates safety standards on offshore oil and gas installations have improved considerably.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Whewell
Head of Offshore Division
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2013-01-23