What is the North Sea?
The North Sea is an area of vital economic importance to the United Kingdom. It is a major area of extraction for oil and gas.
Have there been any major work-related accidents in the North Sea?
Unfortunately, the extraction of oil and gas is a very dangerous process and as a result there have been a number of tragic work-related accidents in which many people have been injured or lost their lives. One of the more tragic examples was the Piper Alpha accident. Consequent litigation has resulted in a number of payments for industrial compensation.
What was the Piper Alpha accident?
Piper Alpha was a North Sea oil production platform which began operations in 1976. An explosion occurred on 6 July 1998 and the resulting oil and gas fires destroyed the platform, resulting in the tragic loss of 167 crew with only 61 survivors. The resulting insurance claims amounted to over US$ 1.4 billion, making it at that time the most costly man-made catastrophe. Some of the survivors, and relatives of those who died, went on to form the Piper Alpha Families and Survivors Association, which campaigns on North Sea safety issues.
That is awful! What has been done to ensure that such a tragic catastrophe doesn’t occur again?
Fortunately, the Piper Alpha accident resulted in a large-scale review of the Health & Safety practices of working on oil rigs in the North Sea. The HSE made over 107 recommendations in order to improve the standards of Health & Safety on board North Sea oil platforms.
Do accidents still occur though?
Thankfully, as a result of the rigorous safety standards imposed on oil rigs there have been no major recorded accidents in North Sea oil production since the Piper Alpha accident. However, it is impossible to eliminate all accidents and there have been a number of minor incidents in the years after Piper Alpha. However, they have been relatively minor by comparison, such as the spillage of 1, 300 barrels of oil into the North Sea in 2011. Victims of any such accidents may be entitled to work accident compensation and for that, Accident Advice Helpline is here to help. Call us free on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone for free, no obligation advice about making a claim.