More than a third of oil and gas workers 'too heavy for lifeboats'

Data shows 36% of North Sea employees are more than the 100kg maximum weight - while 5% are over 125kg.

More than a third of North Sea oil and gas workers too heavy for lifeboats, HSE figures reveal iStock

More than a third of offshore workers in the North Sea are too heavy to be put on lifeboats, figures have shown.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have revealed 36% of employees on rigs weigh more than 100kg – while 5% weigh over 125kg.

The watchdog said it was previously assumed that the average man weighed about 98kg while the average woman weighed 77kg.

Both figures would both fall under the maximum load per person for most vessels in the industry.

But the newly released data, obtained by trade group Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), have raised concerns about the equipment in the event of an emergency.

The HSE said the problem was first raised in 2008 following the “sharp increase of average weights/sizes of offshore personnel”.

Person being measured.
A safety watchdog said the average weight of an offshore worker has continued to grow.

It said it remains an “ongoing issue of concern”.

The safety watchdog has urged oil and gas companies to undertake reviews to ensure equipment is not at risk of being overloaded.

A HSE spokesperson said: “The average size and weight of the offshore workforce has continued to grow – offshore dutyholders have a legal duty for the safety of their workers.

“This includes taking adequate account of the current average weight and size of people when determining the suitability of evacuation and escape systems used offshore.

“We’re actively supporting the industry to address the issues – OEUK have drafted industry guidance, which is currently out for consultation, which we will continue to monitor.”

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