an original podcast by SafetyCulture
We all accept a level of risk - in our lives, in our jobs. A baseline of risk is inevitable. But what happens when your baseline
starts to shift? When you and everyone around you deviates from what is safe, bit by little bit?
It’s thirty years since the offshore oil and gas rig Piper Alpha exploded and collapsed into the North Sea. In less than
an hour 167 men were killed. This is a story about a time when the small slip-ups - a handover forgotten, paperwork
misplaced, the double check overlooked - led to the worst disaster the oil and gas industry has ever seen.
In the first four episodes of this new original podcast by SafetyCulture, we travel to Scotland to find out
why warning signs were ignored, how safety protocols failed and what is left of the men who survived and the community
around them. Why is it that our baselines shift, why aren’t we more afraid of what might happen, and can we change
our thinking to avoid disasters?
It’s the late eighties and the oil industry is booming. Life’s good. But when you’ve become comfortable dealing with risk,
it makes for predictable accidents and it’s easy to forget that if things go wrong, they can go really wrong.
It was gas leak that started it, like a banshee wail on the production deck. The 18-month long government inquiry set about
investigating why Piper was destroyed, but with so many witnesses dead, questions remain over exactly what happened.
When the cameras are gone you can’t see the ripple effect that carries on through the decades after a major accident. Why do some people cope better than others, and should we assess risk not just in terms of the likelihood of accidents but the risk of lasting trauma?
It’s been a long time since Piper exploded: experts are nervous that the industry has forgotten and is on the precipice of another disaster. So, can we ever be sure that the right warnings are getting through and should we all be trying to jumpstart our own chronic unease in order to keep us alive?
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