Following a series of tragic offshore helicopter accidents we decided in late 2013 to undertake a full safety review of the area. That led to our groundbreaking report in February 2014 that called for some significant changes in how offshore helicopter flying takes place and made the safety of those working offshore our highest priority.
The report was warmly welcomed and, since then everyone involved in the area - from the oil and gas industry to helicopter operators and unions, have been working in close co-operation to drive forward the increases in safety. A one year review was published in 2015.
Much of this work has been coordinated through the CAA-led Offshore Helicopter Safety Action Group that pulls together all the key players and was itself formed as a recommendation from the review.
Much of the work is about preventing accidents from occurring in the first place but there has also been significant advances in helping passengers and crew survive an incident if it does occur.
Some of the main safety improvements so far include:
- Prohibiting helicopter flights in the most severe sea conditions to improve the chances of rescue and survivability
- Providing passengers with better emergency breathing equipment
- Offshore workers have received improved safety training
- Making sure that people only sit next to exits that they can escape from
- Changes to the way pilots are trained · Improving helicopter design
- Increased oversight of helideck safety
We have been working in close partnership with Step Change in Safety
www.stepchangeinsafety.net - to deliver many of the changes and communicate with the offshore workforce.
Much of the remaining work is longer-term projects such as changes to the design of future helicopters that will be moved forward via the European Aviation Safety Agency. You can see more of our work in this area at www.caa.co.uk/offshore.