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Increased offshore workplace injuries

By  Thursday, 09 June 2016 00:35
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In the Commonwealth waters, there was a 49% increase in the number of injuries to the offshore workforce compared to 2014, says the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), Australia’s Commonwealth statutory agency.

According to NOPSEMA’s 2015 ‘Annual Offshore Performance Report’, there was 85 recordable cases reported last year, in which 36% of the injuries were wounds and amputations.

About 23% of the injuries were musculoskeletal, systemic or an infectious disease, and 31% was due to injuries in workers’ upper limbs and 29% in the head or neck.

While the majority of these injuries were medical treatment or alternative duties injuries, they are concerning none the less, said Stuart Smith, CEO of NOPSEMA.

He said NOPSEMA will continue to monitor and inspect offshore facilities to ensure that the industry is making the safety of its workforce a top priority.

In 2015, NOPSEMA conducted 195 inspections, covering a total of 208 facilities, titles and petroleum activities. This is the highest number of inspections carried out by the group to date and a 34% increase on the 146 inspections undertaken in 2014.

The total offshore hours worked last year increased 7% from 14.3 million hours in 2014 to 15.3 million. About 63% of the hours worked occurred on mobile facilities and 37% on fixed facilities.

The majority of submitted safety cases in 2015, according to the report, were for mobile facilities, such as mobile offshore drilling units and vessels.

Although, no fatalities were reported last year, 12 accidents resulting in serious injuries were reported, compared to nine in 2014, including 366 dangerous occurrences.

Environmental reportable incidents, however, reduced by 40% on the number reported in 2014. Similarly, after three consecutive years of increases, uncontrolled hydrocarbon releases decreased by 28% in 2015.

Smith said these results are encouraging as NOPSEMA has consistently called on the industry to reduce the number and volume of uncontrolled hydrocarbon releases.

“The onus of improvement rests with industry and I expect strong and sustained leadership from industry to continue improving safety and environmental outcomes in all areas of its operations,” he said

“Where industry is found to be non-compliant, NOPSEMA will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action to ensure a return to compliance,” he warned.

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