Offshore workers refuse to fly in helicopters

Offshore workers have voiced strong opposition to the proposed re-introduction of Super Puma helicopters.

Three quarters of Unite the union members who took part in a survey on helicopter safety said they would never fly in a Super Puma H225 again.

Twelve hundred oil and gas workers took part in the survey, which Unite held following a series of safety concerns involving helicopters transferring workers to and from offshore installations.

The Super Puma was removed from the oil and gas sector in 2016 following a series of fatal crashes.

A fatal crash in February this year resulted in one death and five injures, after a Sikorsky S-92, operated by Bristow for Equinor, ditched into the sea near Bergen.

Four people were killed in August 2013 when a Super Puma L2 overturned soon after entering the water near Garths Ness.

A fifth victim subsequently committed suicide in December 2017.

That incident came just 10 months after a Super Puma EC225 ditched near Fair Isle. There were no casualties, but the survival of the 19 people on board was put down to calm conditions at the time.

John Boland, Unite’s lead officer in the offshore sector, said: “Unite will ensure that concerns over helicopter safety are fully addressed by the oil and gas industry.”

“Offshore workers have clearly spoken about their horror over the Super Puma model ever being reintroduced and have also expressed their concerns about supply chain issues impacting on the safety of the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter.”

“The industry must take note of what offshore workers are saying and work with Unite to resolve these safety concerns.”


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