The Safety 30 Piper Alpha Legacy conference took place on the 5th-6th of June at the AECC.
Marking the thirty-year anniversary since the Piper Alpha disaster, the event aimed to highlight lessons learned and the legacy that Piper had in shaping current operations within the industry, largely in health and safety.
Steve Rae, Operations Manager at Well-Safe Solutions and a Piper Alpha survivor, took a large part in the conference including closing the event with his ‘call to arms’ talk, highlighting the need for greater development of “soft skills” like situational awareness, skills that were imperative to saving his life during the Piper Alpha tragedy.
During the conference Steve took part in an open Q&A session with Joanna Reynolds, BP Geophysicist & Graduate of the Year 2017, and Sam Ash, Mechanical Technician at Nexen & Apprentice of the Year 2017. This session reflected on the conference as a whole and had the idea to ‘pass the baton’ from one generation to the next. The idea behind this was to highlight how the new generation feel coming into the industry and their observations, as well as how the current generation can impart their wisdom and make changes for a safer working environment.
Steve, as a survivor, continues to work relentlessly within the industry, while taking every opportunity to positively influence health and safety matters. He said:
“This event has highlighted to me that we all understand what’s needed to bring continued improvement to our business sector. The themes I have heard repeated the most are a need for:
• Greater sharing and use of data across the entire business sector,
• A drive for standardization across the sector (common systems),
• Further introduction and use of the technology in our business
• A differing approach towards developing the soft/cognitive competencies of our workforce, beyond the standard training we provide today.”
Leaving the audience with a lasting thought, Steve went on the say:
“…I want to leave you with a call to arms. I ask that you make a consensus choice to return to your places of work and do one thing that will make a difference to the integrity of your plant, simplify one process, or, intervene in an unsafe behaviour or act. Ideally do all three.
And as you think about that request I’ll close with a universal paradox:
You are free to choose but you are not free from the consequences of your choices.”