Safety & Training
Canada can learn from offshore oil sites
July 5, 2010, St. John's - A global risk management expert says Canada can learn from safety advances in Norway and other countries with offshore oil sites - advances including a growing tendency to separate safety oversight from the financial goals of the oil industry, and the integration of aviation safety concepts into the broader safety assurance regime.
By Carey Fredericks
“With separate safety oversight there is a natural increase in safety awareness and additional transparency at the accountability level,” says Kimberley Turner, CEO of Aerosafe Risk Management. She goes on to add “…there is no reason why a move in this direction to integrate safety cultures cannot be implemented by a mature business sector like the offshore industry.”
Turner outlined global trends in integrating risk and safety management systems for aviation operations at an inquiry into helicopter safety travel in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. On the first day of the reopened public hearing, Aerosafe’s CEO presented reports on better practice concepts in organization and safety culture, a regulatory comparison and the results of a helicopter safety passenger survey of oil workers. Turner spoke about the diversity of scope in the global oil and petroleum industry ranging from jurisdictions with just a few rigs and a
regulator with under 50 people, through to other jurisdictions with over 6,000 rigs and about 4,000 helidecks. “Regardless of the size or scope of operations, the principles of good governance need to be applied in an open and transparent way” she says.
“With worker travel to and from the rigs being commonly acknowledged as one of the riskier parts of the job, an integrated offshore regulatory regime with clear lines of accountabilities is needed to assure workers, their families and investors, that the companies they deal with are living in a world where modern and meaningful risk management practices are in place” says Turner, from Washington DC this week.
Following the ditching of Cougar Flight 491 (a Sikorsky S-92) into the North Atlantic on March 12, 2009 in which 17 people were killed, the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry (OSHSI) was established by the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB). Aerosafe was appointed as the lead aviation consultancy firm by Commissioner Wells and has been acting as a consultant to the Inquiry since its establishment.
Almost 1000 offshore oil workers completed a safety survey distributed by Aerosafe in a six
week period. The written survey, issued at the heliport prior to departure to the rigs, consisted of
36 questions relating to the safety of helicopter transportation in the offshore oil industry of
Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The turnout for the survey amounted to more than half of
the available workforce of approximately 1800 persons at the time; an overwhelming response
demonstrating very strong interest and industry representation.
Head of the Inquiry, Commissioner Robert Wells, thanked Turner not only for the delivery of the
expert reports this week, but all of the work her organization has done and the guidance on
aviation matters she had provided to the Commission over the last year.
Copies of the expert report and worker survey are available from the OSHSI website at