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Offshore Installations: Safety Legislation

Volume 570: debated on Thursday 28 March 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What has been the progress in implementing Lord Cullen's recommendations on the review and reform of offshore health and safety legislation following his inquiry into the Piper Alpha disaster.

Since the Government accepted in full the recommendations in Lord Cullen's 1990 report on the Piper Alpha disaster, a total of four sets of new health and safety regulations for the offshore sector have been made. The latest, the Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations were laid before Parliament today. They mark a significant milestone in the review and reform programme undertaken by the Government as a result of Lord Cullen's report.The new legislation effects fundamental changes in the management of safety offshore, as recommended by Lord Cullen. A safety case regime for offshore installations has been established. This requires all installation operators and owners to assess the risks arising from offshore installations, and demonstrate how those risks will be controlled. It is now unlawful to operate an installation without acceptance of its safety case by the offshore safety regulator, the explosion, for emergency response—areas of high risk identified by Lord Cullen as requiring specific legislation—and for management and administration issues. Moreover, the new regulations complete offshore implementation of a European Directive concerned with health and safety in the extractive industries. Much old legislation has been revoked both by these new regulations and other reform initiatives in the programme.The Government have therefore met their obligation to review and reform offshore health and safety legislation in the manner set out by Lord Cullen in his report. We commend the Health and Safety Commission for its efforts in taking forward this programme and all parts of the industry for their positive approach to it. Together they have secured a legislative regime providing a firm foundation for the continued improvement of health and safety standards in the offshore sector.