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Newfoundland RDC investing in ditching projects

Jan. 28, 2015, St. John's - The Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC) is investing $350,000 in two projects to help workers survive helicopter ditching or abandonment in water.


January 28, 2015
By OHS Canada

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These projects, related to escape exits and survival skills, are
being undertaken by Falck Safety Services Canada, with funding from RDC,
Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador and Falck. The total value
of the projects is approximately $700,000.

The announcement, on Jan. 20, came nearly six years after a Cougar
Helicopters’ Sikorsky S-92A attempted to land off the coast of St.
John’s, claiming the lives of 17 of the 18 passengers on board.

The first project seeks to identify the specific human factor
requirements to open a Sikorsky S-92 push-out emergency escape exit,
said a press release from the RDC, noting that the findings from the
project could provide critical health and safety components necessary
for future training guidance. The second project will investigate the
effect of wave patterns on optimal training conditions, and how escape
and survival skills are acquired.

“This research will provide valuable incremental information to
trainers, safety and survival manufacturers and regulatory bodies,” said
Glenn Janes, CEO of RDC, in the release. “The outcomes could also be
applicable globally, in terms of future underwater escape training and
exit design.”

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Dr. Michael Taber, a senior research scientist with Falck Safety Services Canada in Dartmouth, N.S., told COHSN
that the projects will be completed by March 31, 2016. When asked about
the specific “human factor requirements” for opening a Sikorsky S-92
push-out emergency exit, Dr. Taber said that researchers would be
collecting 3D motion capture, electromyography data, real-time
biometrics (such as heart rate, breathing rate and axial rotation) and
difficulty ratings from 50 participants who would be completing egress
trials in both a wet and dry environment.

“We will be conducting a detailed observational task analysis of the
3D motion capture data, as well as syncing additional video footage and
muscle activation input signals from the triceps, forearm and shoulder,”
he added.


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