25 Years on: Remembering Piper Alpha

In the past few weeks I have been asked to do presentations and share my views about the legacy of Piper Alpha in this, the 25th anniversary year of the disaster.

For me, the positive legacy is the advancement in safety regulation, engineering and “safety in design” that has seen the improvement of the physical safety of high hazard workplaces. Safety in design has also improved the “survivability” of disasters so that when accidents to occur, their consequences are better mitigated.

The ongoing disappointment, however, is the persistent failure of management oversight and assurance to properly understand if health and safety risks are being managed. This is a failure that has played out in every major accident inquiry since Piper Alpha and continues to undermine effective safety management.

You can see a video presentation of these ideas and concepts here.

4 thoughts on “25 Years on: Remembering Piper Alpha

  1. I must have seen the Piper Alpha disaster video 10 times in the last 25 years, and still we are finding out new information about it. For me, the underlining point, as in all disasters and site incidents that I have investigated, is the same, “Communications”, or lack of, once the line of communications breaks down in ANY situation, then, that is when bad things can happen, and I see this on EVERY site I have ever worked on.

  2. I use this example in my risk assessment and systems modules at TAFE. This is the most stark reminder of Management and system failures which results in fatalities. The fact that Management were aware of these issue at least four (4) years prior to the incident in not forgivable-but it is still occurring see BP in the gulf. Time Management gave a damn, I do!!

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