BP and HSE Face Off Over North Sea Lifeboat Training Concerns

The Health and Safety Executive, a UK safety authority, has served BP with an improvement notice regarding its training for lifeboat evacuation on the Glen Lyon floating production vessel, west of Shetland.


Oil and gas giant BP is understood to be at loggerheads with a UK safety authority over how it is preparing North Sea workers for lifeboat evacuation. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said last night [07 July] it had served BP with an improvement notice on its Glen Lyon floating production vessel, west of Shetland.

RMT Union revealed staff on board vessel had been doing “simulated” lifeboat training instead of drills where workers enter lifeboats.

BP has appealed the safety notice—which could spark a lengthy legal tribunal—and called for an industry standard to be set.

Jake Molloy, regional organizer for RMT, described the practice by BP as “sending the wrong message,” adding that he had personally never heard of any other operator using such a training method. He also claimed lack of real world training on offshore lifeboats results in a situation where staff consider boats “dangerous.”

He said: “It’s pretty sad that we are having a legal battle about what is to my mind a fundamental part of offshore training. The idea that you can’t use safety-critical equipment for training purposes then it sends out totally the wrong message to industry.”

Step Change in Safety, the North Sea safety industry body, refused to comment, but did confirm that “muted discussions” are underway on the issue.

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