LONDON, June 26 /PRNewswire/ --

- Piper Alpha: 20 Years On

On 6 July 1988 a massive explosion on the North Sea Piper Alpha oil platform took the lives of 167 people in what remains the world's worst offshore industry disaster.

The tragedy was a wake-up call to the offshore sector, and the lessons learnt in the aftermath have ensured a safer industry in which to work. Or have they?

Many feel that the offshore industry is still a hugely dangerous area in which to work, and that another disaster is just around the corner. At the end of last year the Offshore Division of government regulator the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued a damning report, which lambasted offshore bosses for the poor state of the sector. The HSE's three-year programme to examine the safety and integrity of installations and equipment revealed that there is still much more to be done to improve safety.

Offshore unions have been highlighting the shortcomings of investment in asset maintenance for years, while operators say they have poured billions into ensuring process safety and asset integrity.

Now, to mark the anniversary of Piper Alpha, SHP magazine is bringing together both sides to discuss whether things really have changed, or is another disaster waiting to happen? On Friday, 4 July at 3pm (BST) SHP editor Tina Weadick will chair a free online webinar, during which participants can hear from, and put their questions to, a panel of experts representing the UK offshore sector's employers, employees and the regulator.

Said panel member, Jake Molloy -- general secretary of the Oil Industry Liaison Committee: "There is no doubt that significant improvements in safety have been made across the industry in the 20 years since Piper Alpha. The industry-specific regulations that have been introduced, coupled with the installation of improved hardware should prevent another disaster on that scale. I say 'should' because we can never say 'never'. Regulations must be adhered to, and the hardware will only ever be as good as the people charged with looking after it. People are therefore key to ensuring safety standards are maintained and improved upon."

Chris Allen -- health, safety, social and environment director at Oil & Gas UK -- agreed, saying: "In the end, safety is not just a company or industry matter but is something for every individual working offshore or onshore. It is important that we remember what happened on 6 July 1988, and that we do not forget the lessons learned from this tragedy, making sure that the next generation of offshore workers does not have to learn the hard way."

Added Ian Whewell, head of the HSE's Offshore Division: "What still needs to be done to reduce the risk of such an incident occurring again is to ensure that everyone in the offshore industry understands the concept of the multiple barriers in place to prevent and mitigate a major accident, and understands the importance of maintaining the integrity of these barriers, as well as the scale of the hazard if they fail."

To find out more or for free registration, please go to

Notes to Editor: 1. SHP, the Safety and Health Practitioner, is the official magazine of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and has been at the forefront of health and safety information provision for 25 years. It is received and read by some 33,000 health and safety professionals every month. For more information, visit 2. SHP webinars are free online seminars and discussions that take place live and last around 60 minutes. They are in the format of a panel discussion, with a number of expert speakers debating the key issues surrounding the topic in question. Pre-submitted questions are discussed by the panel, with the audience being invited to submit further questions and comments throughout -- just as they would at a physical event. 3. To register for free a participant in 'Piper Alpha: 20 years on', visit and click on the event link on the right-hand side of the homepage 4. The HSE's report 'Key Programme 3 - Asset Integrity Programme' can be found at 5. Speakers for the SHP webinar 'Piper Alpha: 20 years on' are: Chris Allen, HSSE director, Oil&Gas UK Jake Molloy, general secretary, OILC (Oil Industry Liaison Committee) Tim Southam, MD of Progress through People, and chair of the IOSH Offshore Group Ian Whewell, head of the Health and Safety Executive's Offshore Division

About CMP Information

Operating internationally, CMPi delivers targeted integrated business media solutions to around 20 industry sectors. Its products, including magazines, exhibitions, conferences, awards, information products and websites, target marketers, buyers and sellers across a range of markets; these include Construction and Architecture, Commercial Property, Food and Pharma Ingredients, Security, Interiors and Licensed Trade.

Amongst its well-established brands are industry-leading publications such as Building, Property Week, The Publican and Farmers Guardian. It also has a number of exhibitions recognised as the pre-eminent events in their respective market sectors; these include CPhI, The Interiors Event and IFSEC.

CMPi's magazines reach over 780,000 readers directly through subscription and controlled circulation. More than 330,000 business professionals and marketers visit its exhibitions each year. CMPi has approximately 1,200 employees in the UK, US, Asia and Europe and in 2007 generated over 190m pounds Sterling in revenues.

Web site:

Roland Ellison, Editor of SHP, +44-(0)20-7921-8052,