Unite calls for public inquiry into offshore flight safety

The union Unite has called for a public inquiry into August’s fatal helicopter crash off Shetland which claimed the lives of four oil and gas workers.

Unite regional industrial officer, Tommy Campbell, was speaking as the union launched its Back Home Safely campaign. The campaign calls on industry body, Oil & Gas UK, to take action to improve confidence in offshore safety.

“There has been a lot of consideration given and a lot of discussion going on but what we want is implementation,” said Mr Campbell.

“We want implementation of all the previous recommendations as a result of these accidents and we want a further investigation now done by an independent public inquiry. The industry should not be inquiring into itself, it should be done separately and independently.”

According to a survey of 532 workers by the union, 50.7% expressed concerns about the safety of offshore flights with of 81% saying confidence had decreased over the last year.

Oil & Gas UK says action will be taken

Robert Paterson, health and safety director at Oil & Gas UK, said action would be taken, but cast doubt over the need for an additional public inquiry.

Mr Paterson stated: “There are a number of investigations and inquiries going on at the present time. The Air Accident Investigation Branch into the incident itself and the Civil Aviation Authority is looking at their arrangements and the helicopter organisers as well.”

“Those reviews are due to report in the early part of the new year and, what I can say is that when they report, we will take action.”

The fatal helicopter crash off Shetland was the fifth accident of its kind in the last 4 years.

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