Offshore workers together with Unite, the UK’s biggest union are launching the ‘Back Home Safe’ campaign on Wednesday 6 November , which calls for immediate improvements to the safety of offshore flights.
In August this year, the Super Puma L2 helicopter, owned by CHC, on its way from the Borgsten Dolphin semi-submersible drilling rig , was on approach to Sumburgh Airport when contact was lost with air traffic control. The helicopter lost power and hit the sea. Four people died.
Unite has, since the incident happened, led an extensive consultation with offshore workers on the current safety of offshore flights. A survey of 532 workers found that over half, 50.7 per cent of workers is not confident about the safety of offshore helicopter flights. A further 81 per cent of workers said that their level of confidence in helicopter flights had decreased in the last 12 months.
Unite said that is consultation shows that the vast majority of offshore workers are calling for increased investment to create a larger offshore fleet; changes to the internal seat configuration on offshore helicopters; changes to the design of helicopters used for passenger transfers offshore; internal emergency lighting fitted to helicopters to aid evacuation; immediate implementation of all safety recommendations from past offshore helicopter incidents; independent review to improve contingencies in the event of a ditching (to maximise the survival time for workers); improved survival equipment and training for workers.
Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “Offshore workers are launching a really important campaign to improve offshore safety and to save lives. Unite has spoken to hundreds of offshore workers who have clearly expressed their legitimate concerns but they have also made concrete proposals to improve safety.
“Over 1500 offshore workers have already backed a petition calling for action which will be presented to Oil and Gas UK next month. Overwhelmingly offshore workers are demanding action from the industry to improve the safety of offshore helicopter flights – Oil and Gas UK must now act.”
Offshore Energy Today Staff, November 06, 2013