Unite, the biggest trade union in the UK oil and gas sector, has today (Thursday 20 February) welcomed new measures calling for safety improvements to offshore helicopter operations serving the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) that can help more workers get back home safe.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) review, launched in the wake of last August’s helicopter crash where four offshore workers died in the waters off the Shetland coast, has called for broad changes to working practices on flying conditions, seating configurations, emergency landing contingencies and workers survival training and safety equipment.
Since 2009, there have been five crashes involving offshore helicopter transfers in the UKCS with a total of 20 fatalities, prompting demands from offshore workers and their trade unions for the industry, authorities and governments to urgently intervene and address the growing crisis in confidence.
Unite believes that today’s report, produced in conjunction with the Norwegian CAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), represents an important step forward in the wider campaign for offshore helicopter safety reform.
Unite regional industrial officer John Taylor said, “The CAA report recognises the crisis in confidence surrounding the safety of offshore helicopter transfers and puts forward a number of interventions and recommendations that workers will tentatively welcome.
“New prohibitions on flying conditions, changes to on-board seating configurations and the improvement of emergency breathing equipment for workers are measures that Unite has called for as part of our Back Home Safe campaign and we are pleased to see these included in the report.
“However, the fact remains that the CAA cannot enforce its full raft of recommendations on the helicopter operators and the wider offshore industry, serving only to strengthen calls for a full public inquiry into helicopter safety that can help bring about the wider safety reforms that are undoubtedly needed.”
For further information please contact Unite regional industrial officer John Taylor in Aberdeen on 07810157919 or 07967665869 or Peter Welsh on 07810157931.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.