Union applauds report on health and safety in offshore petroleum industry

The Electrical Trades Union applauds the final report of the Senate Committee on the Work Health and Safety of Workers in the Offshore Petroleum Industry 
The Committee’s work revealed that the people with detailed knowledge of platform related risks are frequently, systemically excluded from raising or rectifying safety risks.

In short, workers are frequently not only prevented from raising safety issues, but their livelihoods are threatened or terminated if they do.

The Committee’s recommendations aim to address this critical weakness in off-shore safety systems.  Companies will be required to ensure there are formally recognised Health and Safety Representatives that employees can report to, who are genuinely engaged in safety frameworks.

The Committee also seeks to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding offshore platform and operational safety. It recommends that the law no longer support companies to hide their safety conduct by preventing any unannounced regulatory safety audits or representatives on their platforms.

“We are still extremely concerned, not only about the safety of workers on offshore platforms. It is the one industry that our members are leaving because the safety near-miss incidents are occurring too frequently, and because no job is worth losing your life for,” said ETU Organiser Peter Mooney.

“If the public knew, for example, how many unreported fires were started by faults on offshore platforms, or in an onshore processing plant, there would be a huge outcry that more isn’t being done.”

“We are coming up to the 20th anniversary of the Longford Gas Plant explosion on 25 September 2018. The explosion killed two workers and seriously injured eight more, while gas supplies to the state of Victoria were severely affected for two weeks.”

"The age and condition of many offshore platforms and processing plants, some of which are reaching 50 years old, could easily cause another explosion, threatening lives and supply. The Committee’s recommendations are probably not enough to prevent this happening, but it’s a good step in the right direction,” said Mr Mooney.

The Government did not support the majority of the recommendations. Which is nothing new when it comes to this government’s priority to help maximize the profits of energy giants, at the expense of Australians.

Click here to download the Senate Education and Employment Committee report on work health and safety of workers in the offshore petroleum industry