Oil & Gas UK Spotlights Helicopter Safety

This year's aviation safety seminar, organized by Oil & Gas UK, will update the wider aviation and oil and gas community on the key lessons learned from the fatal helicopter accident in April this year, the subsequent work of the helicopter task group, and the projects currently in hand which will enhance the safety of offshore helicopter operations.

The seminar, which takes place on October 1 at the Evolve Training and Conference Centre in Aberdeen, aims to extend the debate surrounding helicopter safety to a wider industry audience, thereby enhancing engagement and conversation on this vital issue.

Robert Paterson, Oil & Gas UK's health, safety and employment issues director, explained: "This seminar is an annual event in which we bring the industry together to learn about and discuss projects and developments in aviation safety. Following the fatal accident earlier this year, we felt it appropriate to widen the scope of this seminar, not only focusing on general aviation safety but also including issues and updates specific to the fatal accident of North Sea Flight 85N. In particular, we will be looking at the work of the helicopter task group and how it has succeeded in bringing all parties together to jointly improve the safety of helicopter operations."

Bob Keiller, chair of the helicopter task group and chief executive of PSN, will give the seminar's keynote speech, providing an overview of the work of the industry-led helicopter task group. He said: "Immediately after the fatal accident of 1 April, industry felt that it needed a coherent approach to dealing with the issues that would come out of the accident investigation and to push forward necessary projects to improve helicopter safety.

"Through the task group, we bring all of the main parties involved in helicopter operations, including the trade unions, the offshore workforce, the regulators, helicopter operators and industry representatives together and jointly decide on the best way forward in improving helicopter safety.

"This seminar now gives us an opportunity to share the lessons learned from the fatal accident and its aftermath with the wider industry, update stakeholders on the work of the task group and look at the substantial progress that has already been made since the formation of the group. In particular, we will be focusing on issues that arose from the investigation reports following the accident and subsequent recommendations such as gear box modifications and chip interpretation, and also give a quick update on ongoing projects such as flight surveillance, helideck lighting and improved weather reporting.

"The work of the task group is by no means complete, but we are making progress and I believe that the extent to which the industry has come together in the task group is a major factor behind this progress."

Also speaking at the seminar will be representatives from Bond Offshore Helicopters, CHC Scotia, HCA, KCA Deutag, CAA, Oil & Gas UK and Shell.

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