Offshore HSRs unite for better safety

Published: 26 Feb 2014

Meetings were held in Fremantle and Melbourne, linked by video. The meetings were organised by the ACTU, and chaired by MUA Deputy National Secretary Mick Doleman. More than 30 leading HSRs and delegates, from all major unions in the offshore including MUA, AWU, AMWU and ETU, participated in the discussion.

 At the meeting, HSRs and delegates looked at ways of working together to campaign for better safety in the offshore petroleum industry.

Recent incidents highlight the anomaly that Australia’s most hazardous industry has some of the most inferior health and safety laws of any industry.


 HSR forums in Melbourne and Perth launch joint campaign for better safety in offshore oil and gas industry

Report exposes severe shortcomings in offshore safety regime

Following the tragic double fatality on the Stena Clyde, a detailed report known as the Fisher Report was released which examined in detail the shortcomings of the offshore safety regime. The report noted that offshore safety laws have fallen a long way behind modern onshore standards.

The problems and risks are well known to many in the industry:

- High-risk tickets, required in every other industry, do not apply in the offshore.

- Offshore health and safety reps in the offshore do not have the same access to training, as onshore HSRs.

- Offshore HSRs are restricted from accessing information, advice and support.

- NOPSEMA, the offshore safety regulator, has become increasingly isolated from the mainstream of health and safety in Australia.

- NOPSEMA does not recognise the many national Codes of Practice. These codes are developed by full-service regulators to provide valuable guidance about how to make workplaces as safe as possible.

Establishing HSRs and networks is vital

At the meetings, delegates and HSRs identified the importance of establishing strong and independent HSRs in every vessel or workplace. This was a key action coming out of the meeting.

Delegates also committed to develop joint networks and meetings so that unions can work together for better safety.

The meeting also identified ways to provide greater support and assistance and protection for HSRs so they can voice genuine safety concerns in the workplace.

Contact your union to find out how you can be involved.

For more information contact MUA National Education and Safety Officer Matt Goodwin ph 0458 023 460

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Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney