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Piper Alpha - 30 years since the tragedy of the Oil & Gas Production Platform

gas Herald Scotland
gas Express

We are sadly approaching the 30 year mark since the tragic explosion of Piper Alpha. For those that may not be familiar with it, Piper Alpha was an oil and gas production platform in the North Sea, just 120 miles from Aberdeen, Scotland.

An explosion causing oil and gas fires destroyed the platform on 6 July 1988, sadly killing 167 people with 61 workers who escaped and survived.

Being a huge oil and gas producer, the disaster actually supplied a main part of the North Sea oil and gas sector and is known as one of the biggest man made catastrophes of all time. We can never forget the lives that were tragically lost and hence the incident has brought 700 oil and gas industry members together to attend a safety conference.

Whats being known as Safety 30, is taking place over the next two days in Aberdeen with the aim of examining how such tragedy has shaped the processes and operations of today within the oil and gas industry. There is particular emphasis on how we can not only to continue to ensuring the safety in todays day and age, but to work together to create an even safer future.

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With the conference being kick started by Oil & Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie, she stated "Thirty years on from the Piper Alpha disaster, our conference provides an opportunity to consider and reflect on a number of themes: the past, the journey we have taken on safety over three decades driven by the legacy of that dreadful night and its aftermath; the present - the way in which operations today continue to be shaped as a result of Piper Alpha; and the future - the challenges we must embrace to ensure we retain a relentless focus on safe operations in an ever-changing and challenging business and operational environment.

Crucially, we must continually think the unthinkable in our industry - as even though there was an appreciation of major accident hazards at risks at the time of Piper Alpha, the scale of the incident that unfolded was unimaginable. And, quite rightly, it represented a watershed moment for health and safety in our industry."

Turning negative into positive, the traumatic event of Piper Alpha was followed up with Lord Cullen whose public inquiry into the tragedy resulted in the health and safety procedures that are set in stone within todays industry.

Chair of the Health and Safety Executive, Martin Temple is also due to give the following words, "The impact of the Piper Alpha disaster created a ripple effect that had far-reaching consequences, not just for the oil and gas industry but for the management of health and safety across all high hazard operations. As an industry - across regulators, operators and the supply chain - we must remain focused on how our activities can prevent another major incident."

Through oil and gas production, we must all remain up to date on the health an safety procedures amongst our trades, with this subject paying special attention to anyone working with gas.

Ensuring we are up to scratch with the health and safety regulations should begin at point of education and should hold a strong presence when participating in relevant gas courses.

To anyone looking to get in the industry we recommend taking an in depth look at the learning outcomes found under course material. Don't forget to take a look around where you'll be taught your gas courses too to ensure the facilities are nothing short of excellent!