UK-based chartered body for health and safety professionals, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) held a parliamentary reception at Westminster to mark the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha tragedy and to highlight the safety progress in the upstream industry.

The UK Members of Parliament, including Energy Minister Michael Fallon and Employment Minister Mark Hoban along with oil and gas industry leaders, attended the reception to commemorate the incident, which killed 167 men in an explosion on the North Sea oil rig Piper Alpha, on 6 July 1988.

At the reception, IOSH highlighted the progress that the oil and gas sector has made and the numerous current challenges the industry face to extract oil and gas from the North Sea.

UK Energy Minister Michael Fallon said the oil and gas industry is extremely important for the country.

"The sector makes significant economic contributions and the resultant prosperity is spread throughout the UK," Fallon added.

"We must however never forget how hazardous an industry it is both in terms of the hostile environment of the North Sea and the somewhat volatile nature of the hydrocarbons we are harvesting from beneath the seabed.

"In our quest for affordable energy it is paramount the highest safety standards are followed by everyone."

IOSH policy and public affairs head Richard Jones said the 25th anniversary of the tragic disaster is a reminder of the devastating human and financial consequences of failing to manage health and safety properly and the need to prevent such disasters.

"These lessons cannot be forgotten in these austere and deregulatory times, nor as we emerge from recession into growth," Jones added.