The Helicopter Safety Steering Group now comprises the following representatives having recently decided to limit membership to achieve a better balance between aviation and oil and gas; –
• Helicopter Operators (Bond, Bristow & CHC)
• Trade Unions (BALPA, RMT & Unite)
• Industry Regulators (CAA & HSE)
• Oil and Gas companies (Apache, BP, ConocoPhillips, Maersk, Perenco, Petrofac, Shell & Talisman)
• OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer – Airbus Helicopters and Sikorsky)
• Trade Associations (Oil and Gas UK, OGP)
There are open invites to both AgustaWestland and Dancopter to join the group.
The group reviewed the activities and priorities and decided to close down the Helicopter Task Group formed following the fatal Sumburgh accident in August 2013 as much of the group’s activities have been overtaken by the CAA Safety Review (CAP 1145).
Two new workgroups were established during the meeting; the Emergency Breathing Systems (EBS) workgroup and a workgroup looking into passenger size restrictions for window exits – the official name of which will be decided in due course.
Colin Griffiths will lead the EBS workgroup and provided an update progress to date regarding emergency breathing systems. It was reported that five potential candidate systems were being looked at and that the Group were discussing the issue on a daily basis.
Elaine McEwan (Maersk Oil) and Alan Combe (BP) volunteered to lead the passenger size group, which will work closely with the Oil and Gas UK/ Robert Gordon University size and shape study and focus on addressing the compliance issue with that size restriction in CAP 1145.
Both groups are to draw up a work plan and submit to HSSG by Friday, 4 April.
Meanwhile, Airbus Helicopters advised that work on the new gearshafts for the EC225 is progressing well and it is expected that certification will be achieved in Q2. The group agreed to re-engage Professor Burdekin (who conducted independent verification of the interim safety barriers implemented on the existing gear shafts for HSSG in June 2013) to provide a desktop review of the certification and testing of the new shafts, before their introduction into the UKCS in the second half of 2014.
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