The annual Oil & Gas UK Health and Safety report was published on 20 June 2014 (the “Report”). The report is a measurement of health and safety performance in the oil and gas industry, measured across a range of indicators.

The performance of the oil and gas industry has been mixed – progress has certainly been made in several areas, but some safety indicators have declined when compared to previous years. The Report confirmed that there was a 49% reduction in the number of reportable hydrocarbon releases over a 3 year period to March 2013, falling slightly short of the 50% industry target. However, while there was an overall decrease in the number ofreportable releases, the remainder of the year saw an overall increase in the total number of releases.

Oil & Gas UK Health and Safety Director Robert Paterson commented that: "Despite the ongoing and encouraging decrease in major and significant releases over the last year – the industry is not yet where it needs to be. Industry, working closely with the regulators and the workforce through Step Change and other bodies, is refocusing attention on preventative strategies and programs to maintain and enhance momentum in this crucial area."

The Report also highlighted a slight increase in the frequency of reportable injuries and dangerous occurrences, reversing the trend of improvements that had been made over previous years.

According to the Report, the average weight of a man or woman working offshore now weighs more than 14 stone, compared to 12 stone in 1985. This statistic is of particular importance given the Civil Aviation Authority’s recommendation that, from 1 April 2015, passengers who are not able to fit through a helicopter’s push-out window emergency exits will be prevented from travelling.

Aviation safety was the focal point of industry concern in 2013/4, and Mr Paterson stated that: “Many of the actions and recommendations arising from those reviews have far-reaching implications for our industry and our workforce. We remain determined to ensure these matters are addressed in a timely and effective manner."

The full report can be accessed here.