OPITO to improve offshore helideck operations in Gulf of Mexico with new safety standards

June 19, 2024

(WO) – OPITO, a global safety and skills organization for the energy industry, has launched two training standards for the Americas to improve safety in helideck operations in the region.

Lucie Booth, Product Development Manager at OPITO

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

The standards offer a minimum benchmark for standardized training in relation to Helicopter Landing Officer (HLO) competence across the Gulf of Mexico.

Product Development Manager at OPITO, Lucie Booth, led on the development of the standards. She said, “The entire offshore industry and its workforce is reliant on daily safe transfers to offshore installations in an open sea environment.

“Offering a minimum benchmark for standardized HLO training across the Americas is key to enabling the safe operation of helidecks, and the safety of those working in this area as well as workers travelling offshore in helicopters.

“The OPITO standards build on the Civil Aviation Authority’s CAP 437 standards for offshore helicopter landing areas guidance, which is widely adopted in the region, with specific training for HLOs and those undertaking emergency response and refueling duties.

“These bespoke OPITO standards will ensure a consistent level of training required to meet recommended practices for safety across the entire Americas region. It will also mean greater flexibility for the workforce to move between projects in the region. From initial conversations, we perceive the uptake will be very positive and are already looking to grow the number of training centers which can provide the courses to broaden the standards' reach.”

OPITO worked closely with Maersk Training to develop the robust training standards to meet the specific requirements of the region.

General Manager of the Safety, Survival and Technical Division at Maersk Training, Christopher George Jacques, said, “With the lack of standardized helideck team member training in the Gulf of Mexico, the US offshore industry is missing the opportunity to optimize safe operations on the helideck. The commencement of this regionally specific OPITO course will give the US offshore industry the means to enhance safety in this critical offshore operation.”

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