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Crew Safety

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One of the things that has been bothering me of late is this whole topic of Crew Safety.


The oil production companies that we fly for are, almost to the degree of paranoia, very strict on clothing regulations. A pilot colleague of mine and I were recently asked to shut down on a platform, as there was no work to be done for a couple of hours. Now anyone out there who has shut down on a platform knows that it can be very boring. So in an effort to keep ourselves entertained we asked the OIM (offshore installation manager) if he would take us on a guided tour of the platform. No problem he replies, just give me a minute to organise you some safety clothing. My colleague and I agreed to wait. Well with in 15minutes were dressed up to the hilt. Hats, protective glasses, new shoes, overalls to boot. All we did was then walk around a demarcated area, that was considered safe, and we concluded our tour.


What amazes me is that, this very same oil company has no regulations or very few regulations for any of it's crew when flying on board the helicopters. Sure they require you wear life jackets and protective hearing, but that is really where it ends.


Having done a small survey of some crash investigations. I was amazed to find most victims who were either fatally injured or seriously injured, sustained either head injuries, burns or skin irritations from leaking fuel.


Surely as pilots and passengers, the oils companies should put in place more stringent guidelines for aircrew and passengers alike. Some suggestions would be, Nomex retardent overalls, Helmets for pilots, gloves, etc. etc.


At the moment we have nothing to protect us, as pilots, if we crash. The nice, smart looking blue pants and white shirts, with a head set, is not going to help me very much if I hit the water.


What are your opinions on this subject?



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Iroquois: The answer has nothing to do with safety per sa, it's a liability factor.

When onboard the helicopter, the helicopter companies insurance is liable.


When on the oil rig and disembarked from the helicopter the oil companies insurance and workers comp comes into effect.


Why do you think you can't visit a construction site without a hard hat and boots.


The underwriters for the insurance company that insures the helicopter operator should have required minimum equipment (safety) for all crews and passengers.

The liability factor is lessened and I am surprised that it is not a requirement in the insurance policy.


Normally the loss of an aircraft is fixed. Passenger loss or injury can amount to more than the cost of replacing the aircraft.


The problems with a great number of underwriters is that they do not understand at all times the minimum safety requirements that could minimize the losses or they go overboard (again not understanding) and charge astranomical fee's.


Some insurance companies affiliated with Loydd's quadrupeled their earnings on aircraft policies in the past year.




Don McDougall

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Guest graunch1

Back a number of years ago at Tuk-By-the-Sea (Beaufort that is) the oil company I worked for was strict about offshore gear. To start with the pax all wore floater coats. After a couple years the safety people decided that the full immersion suit was necessary for the pax. The pilots started out wearing the North Sea light suit that Bristow Heli guys wore, then gradually decreased their survival gear down to flying suits and light mae wests plus helmets (after all those **** poopy suits were soooo hot :wacko:) Even with a full immersion suit The estimates were quite low for survival due to hypothermia.


I went off shore in the early 90s with KLM out of Amsterdam to a rig in the Rhein Field and all pax and flight crew wore total immersion survival gear.


I am surprized that Hibernia and Terra Nova do not have tight rules for pax and crews :unsure:

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Same customer, slightly different region, all the passengers are in full emersion suits, with the hoods up on every offshore takeoff and landing. Pilots are required to wear poopy suits on every flight as well, and both crew and pax are in inflatable lifevests the entire time. Shell was requiring the pilots to be in helmets on an earlier contract. Depends on the customer's Regional Safety guy. Same customer North Sea has completly different standards than the same customer in the Gulf of Mexico. No standardization that I can see.

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