Editorial: Committed to Safety
March 8, 2013 By Matt Nicholls
Providing a safe, stable work environment that delivers the highest
quality assurance standards possible backed by ironclad operating
procedures is the ultimate goal of every Canadian helicopter operator
Providing a safe, stable work environment that delivers the highest quality assurance standards possible backed by ironclad operating procedures is the ultimate goal of every Canadian helicopter operator – and it’s becoming even more paramount as client demands continue to escalate.
Lucrative industries such as oil and gas, helicopter medical services, construction, mining, forestry, firefighting and more are demanding increased commitments from operators. The bottom line is simple: sound business practice dictates the introduction – and long-term nurtering – of a corporate culture that provides operational safety and quality enhancements that exceed regulatory and client-based require-ments. Such an environment reduces accidents and saves lives . . . and nothing is more important than that.
How can one expect to compete without such a commitment? Can you afford not to implement and commit to a Safety Management System (SMS) regardless of the cost or logistical elements of the pro-cess? How can you afford not to invest in key technologies that save lives, such as flight Data Monitoring (fDM), health and usage Monitoring systems (huMs), satellite tracking systems, or any other advanced technology that can help improve safety? And shouldn’t the standards that clients demand of you and your organization be the same standards by which you already strive and demand of yourself? Don’t your passengers (and their families) deserve the best? they trust you with their lives.
The answer, or course, is “yes” to all of these questions, and there are countless operators that are striving to reach the pinnacle of safety and quality excellence. Vancouver-based CHC is one such organiza-tion. A global leader in helicopter transportation for the offshore oil and gas industry, CHC operates some 250 aircraft in more than 30 countries around the world. It is a leader in civilian search and rescue services and is the parent company of heli-one, one of the world’s larg-est helicopter maintenance companies. Also based in Vancouver, Heli-one provides maintenance services for a wide range of helicopters at bases around the world.
CHC is “walking the walk” when it comes to safety and quality assurance and operational integrity. Its successful CHC Safety & Quality summit (see, “banking on safety,” pg. 16) sets the standard for tradeshow excellence, bringing together key industry leaders to discuss technologies, strategies, innovations and more that redefine the safety and quality commitment on a global scale.
The CHC Quality & Safety Summit is not some “party hardy” shin dig where pilots, ops managers and engineers saddle up to the bar after a day of dry industry presentations to exchange stories of yore. Yes, there are networking opportunities, and yes, stories of grandeur are indeed exchanged . . . i have heard them. but this is business and the tentacles and scope of the discussions at this event are many. It’s a shin-ing example of how one company can implement change when it acts on its purpose, integrity and commitment to change.
CHC’s safety focus doesn’t end with its successful spring event; the company leads by example. as Dixon points out in his piece, establish-ing a corporate culture that follows through on concepts discussed at its own conference illustrates this point. For example, ensuring the latest technologies are onboard its new aircraft – including fDM, huMs, engine and vibration Monitoring systems (evMs), terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (TAWS) and more – illustrates a high level of operational integrity to provide
Not every operator has the financial means or resources to cre-ate an industry-leading safety con-ference. Not every operator can equip its fleet with the latest tech-nologically-advanced bells and whistles. of course not. but work-ing on the core competencies of an operation’s corporate philosophy – its ability to embrace change and strive to create a safer, more secure environment for passengers, clients, and employees – is something all operators large and small can work to achieve. What’s the end result? There will be fewer incidents, fewer accidents, more accountability and a safer operational landscape for all. And the kicker? It’s simply a sound business strategy.
Through its successful Safety & Quality Summit and its commit-ment to strive for operational excellence, CHC is trying to establish a better global helicopter landscape. operators everywhere should work diligently to follow its lead.