HeliOffshore Forms Offshore Wind Safety Group

HeliOffshore, a safety-focused association for the offshore helicopter industry, has formed a new work group to focus on the implementation of its safety strategy with regard to offshore wind farm support.

The wind farm group is one of three newly formed groups, with the other two covering helidecks and search and rescue (SAR) operations.

The new work groups are being led by experts from multiple HeliOffshore member companies and are working collaboratively through dedicated channels in the HeliOffshore Space portal, the association said.

The wind farm group has been formed as a way for key stakeholders in this growing sector to collaborate in defining standards that take account of the particular circumstances of supporting offshore wind farms, HeliOffshore said.

According to Lee Harris, the group’s chairman, different standards and specifications have started to emerge within this new sector and the room for confusion that this creates has the potential to result in safety risk and inefficiency.

The goal is to publish a document laying out common safety standards and practices. This will be based on peer-reviewed guidelines covering points such as crew experience for both pilots and winch operators, aircraft performance, training and weather.

The new group is preparing to hold its first face-to-face meeting at the Helitech show in October. It aims to publish the new guidelines in 2019.

The companies involved in the group so far are Leonardo Helicopters, Bell, Airbus Helicopters, CHC Helicopter, Bristow Group, Heli Service International, Wiking Helikopter Service, HTM Helicopters, KN Helicopters, NHV, Era, Equinor and wind turbine manufacturers Vestas, and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.

Lee Harris is with Siemens and his deputy chairman Andy Overton is with CHC Helicopter.

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