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The legacy of Piper Alpha

The 30th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster falls this summer. One hundred and sixthy-seven people lost their lives when this platform in the UK North Sea was destroyed on 6 July 1988.

Photo of the cover of the magazine

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We have chosen to devote this issue of Dialogue to that incident – what went wrong, what were the consequences and how it remains relevant to safety work today.

A pertinent question might be – don’t such old incidents as Piper Alpha and Norway’s Alexander L Kielland flotel belong in the history books? 

Haven’t we exhausted their potential for teaching lessons, improving safety and making progress? Shouldn’t we focus instead on the progress made on the Norwegian continental shelf and its current high level of safety?

The short answer is no. We must and will talk about such major accidents.

Because they remind us that we work in a high-risk industry which could be hit by disaster again. Because they show how badly things can go wrong if we don’t work constantly to prevent incidents, reduce risk and improve safety.