Catalogue description Piper Alpha Public Inquiry: Records

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Details of EG 5
Reference: EG 5
Title: Piper Alpha Public Inquiry: Records

This series contains the records of the public inquiry, chaired by The Hon Lord Cullen between 11 November 1988 and 15 February 1990, into the accident on the Piper Alpha offshore drilling platform.

The records comprise: the transcript of the proceedings, from Day 1 on 11 November 1988 to Day 180 on 15 February 1990, with index; a list of productions; submissions by interested groups and reponses to submissions; the Report of the Public Inquiry into the Piper Alpha Disaster (Cm 1310); a list of drawings; and a list of productions consisting of cardboard mounts.

Date: 1971-1990
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Piper Alpha Public Inquiry, 1988-1990

Physical description: 963 file(s)
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

1994-2004 Department of Trade and Industry

Accruals: Series is not accruing
Administrative / biographical background:

After announcing on 7 July 1988 that a public inquiry would be held to establish the circumstances and causes of the accident on Piper Alpha, Cecil Parkinson, Secretary of State for Energy made a further statement on 14 July outlining the form the inquiry would take:

"The public inquiry will take place under the Offshore Installations (Public Inquiries) Regulations 1974. These regulations were made under the Mineral Workings (Offshore Installations) Act 1971 and were expressly designed to provide for public inquiries into casualties and accidents involving offshore installations. They provide full powers for appointing assessors, summoning witnesses, collecting evidence and making recommendations."

The inquiry was held in Aberdeen with a preliminary hearing on 11 November and the Public Hearing from 19 January 1989 to 15 February 1990. The Hon Lord Cullen, a Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland, was appointed to chair the inquiry. He was assisted by three assessors, Mr Malcolm Ford CBE, Professor Frank Lees and Mr Brian Appleton. Scottish Law Officers represented the public interest.

In addition, a technical investigation was conducted jointly by the Department of Energy and the Health and Safety Commission to establish the cause of the accident and report back to the inquiry. The investigation, by Mr James Petrie, Director of Safety in the Department of Energy's Petroleum Engineering Division, was held under s14 (2)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and regulations made under the Mineral Workings (Offshore Installations) Act 1971.

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