Heartbreaking Accounts from Bereaved Families and Survivors to Fuel Call at STUC Congress for a Safer Offshore Industry and Overhaul of Fatal Accident Inquiries

April 13th 2014

As the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) gathers in Dundee the delegates will have the opportunity to hear from a family member who lost a loved one in the Super Puma tragedy on April 1st 2009 and a survivor of the helicopter ditching off Shetland in August last year.

Grahame Smith STUC General Secretary said

“It is just over five years since the 2009 Super Puma tragedy claimed 16 lives and just over one month since the Sheriff delivered his findings from the Fatal Accident Inquiry into that incident. As a result of failings in our Fatal Accident Inquiry system it has taken an unacceptable length of time to reach this stage.

“Only last August in another tragedy four offshore workers lost their lives in a helicopter ditching off Shetland and Toby Croft, a survivor of that tragedy will speak at a fringe meeting organised by Unite at lunchtime on Monday 14th April to examine the future of Offshore Health and Safety linked to Unite’s highly successful “Back Home Safe Campaign”.

“The families who lost loved ones in 2009 have grieved for over five years and, quite justifiably remain angry. Despite the conclusion of the Inquiry that the tragedy could have been prevented had Bond followed the basic procedures in the safety manual, no one has been held to account for their loss and suffering.

“The STUC shares their anger but we cannot ever begin to understand the extent of their pain and heartbreak caused by this preventable accident. However we have to ensure that following this Congress we redouble our efforts to support trade union campaigns to deliver a safer industry and safer travel to work for all those employed in bringing oil onshore

Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary said:

“The Scottish Parliament has the power to make the changes that the FAI system so desperately requires. The Cabinet Secretary for Justice should fast-track Patricia Ferguson’s proposed reforms to advance the interests of the Scottish public and workplace health and safety.

“It is simply unacceptable that it took five years for the families who lost loved ones to get answers and that the failings identified by the investigation go unpunished. Since that fateful day five years ago there have been a total of 20 fatalities on transfers to and from installations in the UK continental shelf.

“We owe it to the families who have lost loved ones and to the brave men and women working in this sector that we do everything we can possibly do to stop fatalities happening in the future and that everyone gets back home safe.”

Grahame Smith added “The lunchtime meeting will be followed by Congress debates on offshore safety, including a contribution from John Edwards a former offshore worker who lost his son, James in the 2009 Super Puma tragedy

“Congress will reiterate our commitment to offshore workers to campaign at every level for a safer offshore industry, to support Patricia Ferguson MSPs Bill for a more effective Fatal Accident Inquiry system and ensure offshore workers do get “Back Home Safe”.

Ends

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