Major oil firm Shell has failed to maintain its North Sea oil rigs as safely as they should have been, media reports have quoted a senior official within the company as saying.
Both the Times and the Guardian quote Bill Campbell, an ex-engineer for Shell who performed an audit of the company's safety features in 1999, as claiming that senior Shell managers summed health and safety policy as the acronym TFA – Touch F*** All.
He alleges that the TFA philosophy encouraged a culture of non-compliance with health and safety regulations, which were covered up by the wilful falsification of regulatory documents relating to safety.
Despite Shell having stridently denied the charges, especially those relating to the fabrication of documents, the energy firm will be damaged by today's revelations.
In a couple of weeks the results of a fatal accident inquiry investigating the deaths of two Shell workers who died on North Sea platform Brent Bravo in September 2003 will reveal its findings.
Shell has already been fined £900,000 for the incident, which occurred following a major gas leak. Since 2003 it has instigated a major £500 million investment campaign to reduce similar oil and gas leakages.
Responding to today's revelations, both the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee (OILC) organisation and worker's union Amicus have called for an investigation into the company's North Sea safety procedures.
"The workforce has come to me with a wealth of material arguing that production was being put before safety," Jake Molloy, general secretary of the OILC, told the Guardian.