BP and UK’s HSE in dispute over North Sea lifeboat training

Oil and gas company BP was reported to be in a dispute with the UK safety authority over how BP was preparing workers in the North Sea for lifeboat evacuation.

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said late last week that it had served BP with an improvement notice on its Glen Lyon floating production vessel, west of Shetland, reported Energy Voice.

The local Rail, Maritime & Transport (RMT) Union claimed that staff on board the vessel had been undertaking “simulated” lifeboat training instead of drills where they entered lifeboats.

A legal tribunal could result from the safety notice, which BP has appealed.

Regional organiser for RMT Jake Molloy said that BP’s practices sent “the wrong message”, adding that he had personally never heard of any other operator using such a training method.

He claimed that a lack of real-world training on offshore lifeboats resulted in a situation where staff considered boats “dangerous”.

He said that “the idea that you can’t use safety critical equipment for training purposes then it sends out totally the wrong message to industry.”

BP said that: “BP is implementing a programme which will enhance workforce familiarization with lifeboat operation on offshore installations in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) where operators have differing practices. We believe our approach is an example of good practice and we would welcome further dialogue with the HSE and others to achieve a consistent approach across the UKCS. The safety of our people is central to everything we do and we will never compromise safety for any business decision.”

HSE said it had served the safety notice to BP “as a result of concerns uncovered during our routine intervention work”.