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Annual offshore injury figures continue to improve

The number of offshore oil and gas leaks that could potentially lead to a major incident continues to fall, new safety statistics have revealed.

But Steve Walker, the head of offshore safety at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), has warned industry not to be complacent following the encouraging figures. He said:

"While we welcome the continued downward trend, the industry will need continued focus to achieve its target of halving the number of hydrocarbon releases by April 2013. The major gas release from the Elgin platform at the end of March was a salutary reminder of the potential consequences that such releases can present.

"The deaths of offshore workers are always unacceptable. Although those in 2011/12 are the first ones to be recorded in our statistics since 2007, they are a tragic reminder that this is a high risk industry and safety must remain a priority."

Despite the two fatalities, the combined fatal and injury rate fell to 131 per 100,000 workers in 2011/12 from 152 in 2010/11 - the second lowest rate over the last ten years.

There were 425 reported dangerous occurrences, seven fewer than last year - with equipment failure accounting for 30%, hydrocarbon releases 29.9%, well-related incidents made up 10.1% and fire offshore 6.8%.

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