§ 16. Dr. Moonie
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what proposals he has to improve safety in the handling of dangerous substances on offshore installations.
§ Mr. Baldry
My right hon. Friend is currently studying the possible extension of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988 to offshore installations.
§ Dr. Moonie
I appreciate that this matter is not the Minister's direct responsibility, but I am sure that the Minister of State is well aware of the concerns that have been expressed, especially by my constituents who work on offshore installations. Will the hon. Gentleman guarantee to take careful heed of the views that have been expressed by trade unions on the importance of any changes?
§ Mr. Baldry
Offshore safety is of paramount importance and we have consistently stressed that we will not allow standards to be compromised for any reason. We have been reviewing the important contribution that the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations have made in improving safety onshore, and it will now be for the Health and Safety Commission to advise my right hon. Friend the Minister of State whether such regulations should be extended offshore. I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend will also have regard to comments and representations made to him by the trade unions and others concerned with safety in the North sea.