New figures published by the UK’s safety regulator have revealed there were 235 dangerous occurrences in the North Sea last year.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released its annual report on the UK’s oil and gas industry.
Dangerous occurrences (DOs) – incidents with potential to cause serious injury or death – totalled 235 in 2018, up from 217 the year before.
The number of “major” hydrocarbon (oil and gas) releases was four – the highest since 2013, while total releases including those classified as “minor” and “significant” were 112.
Last year, HSE’s energy division director Chris Flint wrote to operators saying every release is a “safety threat” with several in recent years coming “perilously close to disaster”.
Of the 235 DOs, 41% were oil and gas releases.
There were 19 “major injuries”, which increased slightly from 18 the year before and there were no fatalities.
The safety watchdog identified a total of 1,257 non-compliance issues with operating companies, which has increased yearly since 2012 which had 652.
These are issues identified at inspection of offshore installations which require action by an operator, in addition to more formal enforcement activities like an improvement notice.
While the number of issues identified was at its highest in seven years, the number of planned inspections was at its lowest over that time at 126, with 30 improvement notices and two prohibition notices.
One case resulted in prosecution in 2018 after an employee was seriously injured while attempting to change a compressed gas cylinder.