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HSE UK offshore safety report confirms improving trends for 2017

01 February 2019

The Offshore Statistics & Regulatory Activity Report for 2017 from the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) confirms that most offshore oil & gas and wind operations safety trends are moving in the right direction. There were no work-related fatalities recorded in 2017 and the non-fatal injury rate also continued to decrease across the UK Continental Shelf.

The report provides details of offshore injuries, dangerous occurrences and ill health reported to HSE under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR), and HSE’s regulatory activity offshore during 2017. The data in this report is a frozen, validated snapshot of operational information from HSE systems, and is published as Official Statistics. Wherever possible, data is based on a calendar year. Data for the most recent year is given a 'p' status (provisional), and will be released as final in the subsequent annual report, to take account of minor adjustments, e.g. late reports.

The RIDDOR data includes incidents occurring on offshore installations, offshore wells and activities in connection with them, offshore pipelines, pipeline works and certain activities in connection with pipeline works, offshore wind farms and offshore diving operations.

The data excludes:

* Incidents arising from marine activities that are not directly connected with offshore operations (e.g. vessels or rigs in transit). The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has primary responsibility for maritime safety.

* Air transport activities (including transport to, from or between installations), except incidents involving helicopters whilst on an offshore installation. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has responsibility for aircraft flight safety.

Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) also produces an annual health and safety report which includes items such as helicopter operations. A summary of this report was included in the December issue of Hazardex.

Industry profile

In 2016 BEIS (Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy) reported that there were 302 installations in the UK Continental Shelf, of which 261 were operational and 143 were manned.

In addition there is a supporting infrastructure of 14,000 km of pipelines connecting installations to beach terminals. Industry commissioned many of these assets in the early 1970s and some are forecast to continue operating to 2030 and beyond.

The UK offshore industry operates the Vantage personnel tracking system, which records the number of nights of Persons on Board (PoB). Details can be found at Using this information it can be determined that in 2017, 5 million days were spent offshore.

It is estimated that there was an offshore population of 29,700 full time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2017, compared to 30,400 in 2016. FTE is based on the assumption that each shift on average lasts 12 hours, and a FTE worker works 2000 hours annually: FTE = Total PoB Nights x 12 ÷ 2000.

The assumption that a full time equivalent works 2000 hours a year is based on what other regulators do, in particular the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the regulatory agency of the US federal government found at

All reported injuries

For RIDDOR, a number of changes to the reporting system and legal requirements have occurred over recent years, making comparisons difficult with previous data.

Key points for 2017:

* There were a total of 84 injuries reported under RIDDOR, with a rate of 282 injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers (FTE)

Fatal injuries - key points for 2017:

All reported injuries (offshore), 2012-2017
All reported injuries (offshore), 2012-2017

* There were no fatal injuries in 2017

* There have been three fatalities in the last 5 years and six in the last 10 years, of which:

* one fatality in 2016, involving an employee being trapped by something collapsing

* two fatal injuries in 2014 (one fall from height, and one whilst conducting routine lifeboat maintenance)

* one fatality in 2012 (associated with drowning/asphyxiation)

* two fatalities in 2011/12 (one fall from height, and one occurring during a diving operation)

Major/Specified injuries - key points for 2017:

* There were 19 specified injuries reported, the same number as in 2016

* The rate was 64 per 100,000 FTE workers in 2017, compared to 63 per 100,000 in the previous year

* Due to the recent legislative changes, major and specified counts and rates cannot be reliably compared, though it can be observed that counts and rates for previously reported ‘major injuries’ fluctuated in earlier years

Over-7-day injuries - key points for 2017:

* There were 65 over-7-day injuries reported, compared to 78 in 2016

* The rate was 219 injuries per 100,000 FTE workers, compared to 257 in 2016

* In April 2012, the legal requirement to report injuries to workers resulting in more than three days absence (’over-3-day’) changed to ‘over-7-day’. Due to the changes, over-3-day and over-7-day counts and rates cannot be reliably compared, though it can be observed that counts and rates for previously reported ‘over-3-day’ injuries fell continually in earlier years

Nature of injuries - key points for 2017:

* Fractures accounted for nearly 90% of specified injuries reported (17 of 19)

* Sprains and strains accounted for 38% of over-7-day injuries reported (25 of 65)

* Upper limb accounted for 44% of all injuries reported (37 of 84)

* Lower limb accounted for 27% of all injuries reported (23 of 84)

* In total, injuries to limbs accounted for 63% of specified injuries (12 of 19) and 74% of over-7-day injuries (48 of 65)

* Slips, Trips or Falls on same level accounted for 37% of all injuries reported (31 of 84), followed by Handling, Lifting or Carrying (11%; 9 of 84) and Striking Against Something Fixed or Stationary (10%; 8 of 84)

Dangerous Occurrences - key points for 2017:

* There were 196 DOs reported in 2017, compared to 249 in 2016 (and 312 in 2015); longer-term analysis of the trend in reported DOs is complicated by changes in definition in 2013.

* Hydrocarbon releases accounted for over a third of the DOs reported under RIDDOR (35%; 68 of 196)

* The number of reported well DOs continued to decrease and there was a large decrease in the number of pipeline DOs in 2017

Hydrocarbon releases

Hydrocarbon releases (HCRs) are classified as ‘Minor’, ‘Significant’, or ‘Major’ on the basis of their severity; these definitions have been agreed with the offshore industry. By combining incident and population data, estimates of the frequency of loss of containment incidents for equipment and system types can be determined.

The HCR release rate is based on the level of production in million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) reported by OGUK; latest data is available at

As a result of the new EU Commission Implementing Regulation No. 1112/2014, some of HSE’s voluntary notification scheme became mandatory. As such, from July 2015, some non-process HCRs were allocated severity classifications again. By July 2017 all non-process HCRs will be classified.

Key points for 2017:

* Since the introduction of the ROGI (‘Reporting of Oil and Gas Incidents’) form, all non-process HCRs (e.g. heli fuel and diesel spills) reported under the EU Offshore Directive arrangements are classified in the same way and against the same criteria as process HCRs

* 42 of a total of 110 HCRs were reported solely under the EU Offshore Directive arrangements, i.e. they did not meet the criteria to be reportable under RIDDOR (and see further details below).

* The HCR release rate has fluctuated over the past 10 years, but has seen a steady decrease since 2013

HSE offshore regulatory activity in 2017:

* There were 141 inspections undertaken at 110 offshore installations. This compares with 134 in 2016 and 138 in 2015.

* Offshore topic inspection scores were as follows: Fully Compliant 31 (43 in 2016), Broadly Compliant 210 (218), Poor 98 (95) and Very Poor 12 (6)

* 132 safety cases were assessed. This compares with 199 in 2016 and 107 in 2015.

* 23 investigations were completed. This compares with 48 in 2016 and 52 in 2015.

* 13 workplace health and safety concerns were followed up. This compares with 40 in 2016 and 55 in 2015.

* 914 non-compliance issues were raised with operators. This compares with 723 in 2016 and 847 in 2015.

* 44 enforcement notices were issued (38 improvement notices and 6 prohibition notices). This compares with 40 (38 & 2) in 2016 and 35 (34 & 1) in 2015.

* There were no prosecution cases initiated in 2017. One case was heard in 2016 that resulted in a conviction, relating to a hydrocarbon release on an installation.

To see the full report, go to:

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