Remembering PIPER ALPHA !! 30 yrs on!!

Personal update:- I am tied up with a client engagement, which may take me off from Bangalore for most of the time in coming weeks. I would try to grab time and post my HSE thoughts during my travel as I do now. I have taken up this assignment which is very similar to what I did 25 years back as a site safety officer to guide, coach and work with folks who are newly thrown in to MNC work culture environment. This is also a kind of pay back from my side to the parent company to which I was associated.

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This week, the night of 6th-7th July, marks the beginning of the 30th year of PIPER ALPHA disaster which took lives of 167 employees. Some mortal remains were never found. I still vividly remember the day when news flashed on BBC Radio ( there was No TV then)! 

30 years on, I wonder has the industry learnt its lesson? May be may be not?“The purpose of doing this Video, is to remind people that Piper Alpha isn’t just history and we still have to guard against complacency. The same hazards and the same challenges that existed back then still exist today and how we manage them – through strong leadership and engaging the workforce in safety – is crucial in preventing a repeat of that tragedy.”

Ed Punchard’s book, Piper Alpha — A Survivor’s Story, was published by Star Books in 1989 and Lord Cullen’s report, The Public Inquiry into the Piper Alpha Disaster, by HMSO in 1990. Lord Cullen’s key recommendations

  • New legislation requiring safety cases
  • Goal-setting legislation
  • A single regulator
  • Offshore safety reps and safety committees
  • Revision of permits to work
  • Process control
  • Mandatory incident reporting
  • Hydrocarbon inventory
  • Fire and gas detection and emergency shutdown
  • Fire and explosion protection
  • Emergency centres and system
  • Pipeline emergency procedures
  • Evacuation, escape and rescue plans and equipment
  • Standby vessels
  • Command in emergencies
  • Regular drills
  • Emergency training

The recent Grenfel tower fire may be similar to Piper Alpha tragedy as this article explains makes you wonder any lessons learnt and applied across industries!! 

We can not afford another PIPER ALPHA anywhere in the world!! I Hope so!

Take care, God bless.


9th July 2017

2020 Hrs.





Author: Karthik B; Orion Transcenders. Bangalore.

Lives in Bangalore. HESS Professional of 30+ yrs experience. Global Exposure in 4 continents of over 22 years in implementation of Health, Environment, Safety, Sustainability. First batch of Environmental Engineers from 1985 Batch. Qualified for implementing Lean, 6Sigma, HR best practices integrating them in to HESS as value add to business.

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