Work Health and Safety

Offshore and onshore, the oil and gas industry is one of the most hazardous industries in the world.

The combination of heavy machinery, remote worksites, unpredictable weather, and importantly, dodgy employer practices create significant health and safety risks to workers.

Of concern to the Offshore Alliance is that the work health and safety rights and protections of workers in the offshore industry are inferior to those of other workers. Our priority is protecting the physical and mental health of our members, and ensuring their welfare in the workplace.

OVERVIEW OF THE WHS LEGISLATION

The key safety legislation regulating the WA oil and gas industry includes:

  • the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act),
  • the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and its accompanying regulations,
  • the work health and safety elements of the following industry specific Acts,
    • Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994,
    • Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967,
    • Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982, and
    • Petroleum Pipelines Act 1969.

Together, this legislation requires employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees.

In early 2022, new work health and safety legislation will come into effect in under the Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WA) and the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 (Cth).

 

THE NOPSEMA

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) is the health and safety regulator for the offshore energy sector. Whilst the NOPSEMA assists in managing health and safety risks offshore, it does not provide workers with sufficient protection. Stronger enforcement action is needed to deter employers against non-compliance, including penalising and prosecuting repeat offenders.

 

THE OFFSHORE ALLIANCE’S ROLE IN OIL AND GAS SAFETY

Union involvement in managing work health and safety is critical to achieving positive outcomes.

The depth of our experience in the oil and gas industry means the Offshore Alliance is uniquely placed to assist with the health and safety issues faced by our members in their workplace.

The Offshore Alliance with continue pushing for improved safety performance, including ensuring that breaches of work health and safety legislation are prosecuted, and for a more robust work health and safety regime in the oil and gas industry.