UK CAA could safety check UK offshore helidecks

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is considering taking on oversight of all offshore helidecks in UK waters. If enacted it would have powers to stop flights to helidecks that failed to meet the minimum standards.

In a February 2014 review of offshore helicopter operations the CAA said that an enhanced certification process could raise safety levels for the more than 300 helidecks in UK waters. It is now asking for views on how this could work.

At the moment offshore helicopter operators are responsible for checking helidecks. The CAA is asking if this responsibility could be transferred to a legally binding one run by the authority. It is also looking to see if this work could be done by organisations accredited and overseen by the CAA.

“In cases where a helideck doesn’t meet safety standards there is currently no legal enforcement process to either shut it down or demand improvements”

“The oil and gas industry puts considerable effort into maintaining safe helidecks but in cases where a helideck doesn’t meet safety standards there is currently no legal enforcement process to either shut it down or demand improvements,” said Mark Swann, CAA Safety and Airspace director. “The safety of offshore workers is our absolute priority so we’ve launched a consultation that would see us introduce legally binding safety standards for the 300 plus helidecks in UK waters.”

The proposals are primarily aimed at addressing the causes of accidents to prevent them happening, a policy that the CAA and its Offshore Helicopter Safety Action Group (OHSAG) has followed throughout its work in the area.

The consultation closes on 24 July 2015.

Terry Spruce

Terry is Senior News Editor and writes for both Corporate Jet Investor and Helicopter Investor. He is also responsible for our helicopter guides. Terry has been an aviation enthusiast since the early 1970s. He is a lapsed Private Pilot and ex-Piper Cherokee owner. He has flown a number of light aircraft and is comfortable sitting in the co-pilot's seat or the back of any aircraft. Before moving to journalism he was a banker for 20 years. You can contact him at: terry@corporatejetinvestor.com or follow him on twitter @Terry_Spruce

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