Industry professionals put ‘Feet to the Fire’ at offshore safety event

Source: press release, 22 December 2021

Piper Alpha keynote enters fire scene for first time since 1988 – Joe Meanen, Piper Alpha Survivor
Piper Alpha keynote enters fire scene for first time since 1988 – Joe Meanen, Piper Alpha Survivor (photo: RigDeluge/AIS Survivex)

Global fire safety innovator, RigDeluge, has joined forces with energy sector training providers, AIS Survivex to deliver a unique event designed to encourage frank discussion and debate around offshore fire safety, followed by a hands-on, real-time fire experience.

Thirty-three years after the Piper Alpha tragedy which saw 167 men lose their lives, and despite an intense focus upon the industry’s wider health and safety, the offshore fire safety products and test procedures which were noted in the resultant Cullen Report as significant contributing failing factors, pre-fire, remain in use across the offshore industry.

RigDeluge Managing Director, Ian Garden, is a passionate advocate of fire safety compliance and the inventor of award-winning and patented fire products that solve some of the long-term recorded failings in fire safety systems.

Explaining the motivation behind the Safety in Mind event, which was attended by a range of operator and tier one representatives, he said: “In an industry that relies heavily upon administrative controls, I believe that competency and hands-on experience give individuals the courage and commitment to re-evaluate and drive change to improve safety and efficiency.”

Delegates were invited to gain some of that necessary “hands-on experience” by donning fire safety equipment and entering a simulated offshore burning module with a failed sprinkler system, under the expert guidance of AIS Survivex Emergency Response Instructors.

Ian continued: “Only by encouraging an attitude of self-preservation and ‘prepare for the worst’ towards all aspects of fire safety can you expect to mitigate hazards and reduce risks to as low as reasonably practicable for those that depend on us to keep them safe whilst at work.”

The event’s keynote speaker, Joe Meanen – one of the 61 survivors of the Piper Alpha tragedy – brought the very worst that can happen to life and was the catalyst for an insightful discussion amongst delegates around industry attitudes towards safety critical systems and processes, highlighting the challenges of an aging industry which will remain a critical energy provider and long-term back up supply throughout the energy transition.

A 7-year case study session of RigDeluge’s Free Flow technology concluded the event, together with a live demonstration of its ability to deliver water to fire via the contaminated delivery lines of fire safety systems – a failing also noted in the Cullen Report.

Discussing the impact an event like “Safety in Mind” can have, Paul Knowles, AIS Survivex VP of Training said: “We were delighted to support this event at our Montrose training facility. I believe there is a real benefit to allowing onshore personnel to experience the very real heat of the moment. It brings the reality of the high risks of the offshore environment to the forefront of the mind whilst showcasing the lifesaving solutions that exist in the marketplace.”

“As an organisation we understand that health and safety is paramount in all that we do, and as we evolve as a company this remains a key drive that will reflect in our service offering,” added Knowles.