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Improving Offshore Safety in the Americas: OPITO's New Regional Standards for Helideck Operations

The entire offshore industry, and its workforce, is reliant on daily safe transfers to offshore installations in an open sea environment.

In the Gulf of Mexico, factors such as rising deep-water offshore development activity, the growth of the offshore wind industry and the improved viability of offshore oil and gas projects means the number of journeys to and from offshore helidecks in the region is only set to increase.

With a lack of a standardised helideck team member training in the Gulf of Mexico, it became clear that the US offshore industry was missing the opportunity to optimise safe operations on the helideck.

Introducing a Minimum Benchmark for Helicopter Landing Officer (HLO) Competence Across the Americas

As a not-for-profit business, OPITO works in partnership with industry stakeholders to identify the need for new and improved global training and competence standards. Together with Maersk Training, and other industry partners, OPITO developed robust training standards for helideck operations to meet the specific requirements in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Helideck Operations Initial Training (Americas) and Helideck Operations Emergency Response and Aviation Fuel Management Awareness standards were designed and updated to reflect legislation and operational differences in the region and are now being rolled out after a successful pilot.

Building Competence with Standardisation

The standards offer a minimum benchmark for training in relation to Helicopter Landing Officer (HLO) competence across the Americas to ensure the safe operation of helidecks, and the safety of those working in this area, as well as workers travelling offshore in helicopters. 

Although CAP 437 and HSAC-RP is widely adopted as guidance within the region these bespoke standards build on the regional specific requirements for HLOs and those undertaking emergency response and refuelling duties.

Collaboration to Combat Complexity 

Collaboration has been key in delivering these bespoke standards for the Americas. The energy industry is inherently complex, but OPITO will continue to work together with industry partners to standardise training while remaining flexible. This will have a powerful and effective impact on offshore safety worldwide.

These new standards will ensure a consistent level of training required to meet recommended practices for safety across the entire Americas region. They will also mean greater flexibility for the workforce to move between projects. From initial conversations, OPITO perceives the uptake will be very positive and is already looking to grow the number of training centres which can provide the courses to broaden the standards’ reach.

For more information, please contact your OPITO focal point.