The UK offshore oil and gas industry is the third-best performer in the country in terms of non-fatal injuries to workers, a new oil and gas industry report has revealed.

Trade body Oil & Gas UK’s Health & Safety Report noted despite being a major hazard industry, the oil and gas sector has a better safety record than the public sector, retail and general manufacturing with only finance and education doing better.

In the annual report, Oil and Gas UK observes a steady reduction in the incidence of over-three day injuries, reaching an all time low in 2010/11 and a reduction of almost 70% in the past 15 years.

Two years into a three-year programme to reduce hydrocarbon releases (HCRs) by 50%, there has already been a 40% reduction in significant releases, which Oil and Gas UK forecasts to reach the target levels by 2013.

The report also found major hydrocarbon releases in 2011/2012 at an all time low with an 80% improvement in Level 3 Verification Non-Compliances from Q1 2008 to Q4 2011.

Oil & Gas UK health and safety director Robert Paterson said the report also highlights the encouraging progress in the industry’s efforts to reduce the number of hydrocarbon releases by 50% by March 2013.

"The number of major and significant releases is now at an all time low and, with more sustained effort, we believe we can reach our goal," Paterson added.

"The report serves to underline the fact that the UK has one of the most robust offshore health and safety regimes in the world,"

"Ongoing work around asset integrity and life extension, operational risk assessments and aviation safety are prime examples of this and demonstrate our intention to effectively tackle some very challenging health and safety issues.

The report also details ongoing projects to improve safety under which Oil & Gas UK is making the case for a new Directive instead of regulation, in order to protect the existing legislation in the UK including increased focus on asset ageing and life extension in companies’ management systems and business practices.