Faults found on oil-rig helidecks

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(First Edition)

INSPECTORS found deficiencies in design, maintenance standards and fire-fighting and rescue equipment on the helicopter decks of North Sea oil platforms during a safety review, writes James Cusick.

During the survey, the Health and Safety Executive ordered that helicopter landings on two platforms be halted when it was discovered that crucial fire-fighting equipment was not working.

The survey, conducted earlier this year by Civil Aviation Authority inspectors on behalf of the HSE, looked at 82 offshore helidecks. Although no statistics were revealed in the report, 12 platforms out of the 82 were given detailed examinations. Of the 12, two decks were described as having 'non-operational' fire-fighting foam equipment. Such equipment would be crucial if an aircraft caught fire on a deck.

Announcing that the CAA had been given a further 14-month contract to carry out inspections of the remaining 92 North Sea platforms, Dr Alan Sefton, director of the HSE's Offshore Safety Division, said: 'We are serving notice on the industry to put its house in order. We want to ensure that operators are meeting safety requirements and where they are not, then we are ready to take vigorous enforcement action.'