Norway fatal crash helicopter type cleared to fly

Super Puma 225 helicopters, which were grounded after a fatal crash in Norway, are to fly over the North Sea again.
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The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Norwegian authorities have allowed flights to resume if operators meet new safety conditions.
A crash involving the helicopter off the coast of Norway killed 13 people, including Iain Stewart from Aberdeenshire, in April 2016.

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The Unite Union has expressed concern about the decision.
CAA head of airworthiness John McColl said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly. It has only been made after receiving extensive information from the Norwegian accident investigators and being satisfied with the subsequent changes introduced by Airbus Helicopters through detailed assessment and analysis.
“The safety of those who travel on offshore helicopter flights is a key priority for both the UK and Norwegian aviation authorities.
“We would not have made this decision unless we were convinced that the changes to the helicopters and their maintenance restore the required airworthiness standards.”
The CAA said that helicopters would not begin flying immediately. A plan of checks, modifications and inspections will be undertaken before any flights take place.
These include:

  • Change in the design by removal of the components that were susceptible to premature deterioration
  • Earlier replacement of component
  • Design change to introduce an improved maintenance inspection method to detect any deterioration at an early stage
  • More frequent inspections
  • Reduction in the thresholds for rejecting components based upon early signs of any deterioration

Mr McColl added: “We continue to work with the helicopter operators, the offshore industries, international regulators, unions and pilot representatives to enhance offshore safety standards still further and all these parties are actively involved in ongoing discussions.”
The Unite Union has expressed concern at the decision, saying its members were “very nervous” about flying in the helicopter.

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The union’s regional organiser in Aberdeen, Tommy Campbell, said Unite was still waiting to see a full analysis of the April 2016 accident and its causes.
“The offshore work force have been surveyed, they’ve been surveyed by the unions, they’ve been surveyed by magazines in the industry and there is a lack of confidence,” he told the BBC.
“There’s a significant issue and it’s very understandable. Offshore workers – or any workers – want to go to their work and come back home safely and there’s been far, far too many deaths now as a result of helicopter accidents.”

THREE OPERATORS - Les Linklater 10
Les Linklater, executive director of the offshore industry safety group, Step Change in Safety, said: “At this time, there is an ongoing Airbus survey for pilots and passengers regarding these specific helicopters’ flight safety and comfort, which was issued just one week ago. It’s our understanding that this survey still has a further three weeks to run.
“Given the importance of the workforce’s opinion regarding this highly emotive subject, we do not feel it’s appropriate to make any further comment until Airbus has gathered, and shared, the survey’s results and can demonstrate how they intend to address any concerns raised by the workforce.
“We would encourage all members of the workforce to participate and have their voices heard.”
BBC NEWS

July 9th, 2017
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Unite raises serious safety concerns after ban on Airbus Superpuma is lifted

 

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Scotland’s biggest union, Unite, has set up a petition to stop all commercial flights of the Superpuma H225LP and AS332 L2 helicopters in order to provide reassurance to offshore workers that their safety is paramount. This comes after the CAA announced plans to lift the ban last month.

Unite and other offshore unions continue to demand the highest possible safety regulations and training when it comes to helicopter journeys involving offshore workers and this decision jeopardises this.

Unite regional officer, Tommy Campbell said: “Our members are telling us that they have no confidence in the safety of these airframes and neither do their families. Offshore workers deserve to return back home safe to loved ones from working in the North Sea.

“We need not only the usual assurances from the Oil and Gas UK operators, we need them to demonstrate that safety comes first and that they will not support the reintroduction of the Superpuma H225LP and AS332 L2 helicopters.

“Until a full investigation is complete and the results are known there should be no ‘Business as Usual’ return to commercial operations in the UKCS involving these airframes.”

Transporting offshore workers to and from oil and gas installations should be a safe and routine practice. However, Unite is claiming that a significant number of offshore workers and union members have expressed the view that the root cause of the gearbox problem that caused the crash in April 2016 remains unknown and as long as it does they demand the airframes should remain grounded.

Unite will continue to work with all stakeholders in the UKCS  who have a responsibility for health and safety in the Oil and Gas sector to ensure the highest safety standards are upheld and that commercial pressure and profit will not come before workers’ safety.

 

For further information contact: Tommy Campbell 07810157920

Sign the petition and shareshare on faceboook twitter

 

back-home-safe-unite-150x150


 

 


North Sea employers have made a revised pay offer to disgruntled workers.

https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/north-sea/147900/union-members-urged-accept-new-north-sea-pay-deal/

North Sea employers have made a revised pay offer to disgruntled workers.

The Offshore Contractors Association (OCA), whose members include Petrofac, Wood Group PSN and Stork, has been in lengthy negotiations with unions over a pay dispute.

The OCA came up with an offer to increase pay by 2%, but it was rejected by workers.

Recent meetings were called after a series ballots failed to provide a legal mandate for strike action.

The unions said a majority of workers had backed a walkout, but legal requirements for staging a strike were not satisfied.

At least 50% of eligible members must vote in favour of industrial action for a strike to go ahead.

The OCA has now put a new offer on the table which includes the “% increase as well as a £450 lump sum for certain employees.

 

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Officials representing the GMB, Unite and RMT unions have recommended that their members accept the revised offer.

Tommy Campbell on behalf of the Trade Unions GMB, UNITE and RMT saidcika314wkaapyvf:

“All the Trade Unions have worked hard to deliver the best deal for our Union members.

“We are therefore recommending that they vote Yes to this new OCA offer.

reccomendvote yes

 

“We continue to approach our negotiations in the best interests of offshore workers in the Oil and Gas industry.

“The trade unions are committed to doing all we can to support maximum economic recovery so as to protect jobs and create future employment opportunities for those who lost their jobs in the past few years.”

Paul Atkinson, OCA chief executive added: “Constructive and positive negotiations with the unions have resulted in the joint development of this new offer, which we believe to be in the best interests of everyone involved.”

A consultative ballot is now underway with the unions offshore membership on the new OCA offer.

Officials from union and the OCA, which represents nine companies, including Amec Foster Wheeler, Petrofac and Wood Group PSN, have met numerous times to try to resolve the situation.

Unions have argued for better terms workers, including a wage increase, along with improved sick pay and paid travel time.

Unite are currently  balloting their members on the offer


 

TRADE UNIONS CONSULTATIVE BALLOT (Unite, GMB and RMT)  

As you are aware, the Offshore Contractors’ Association (OCA), its member companies and the trade unions, have been in continuous dialogue with a focus on reaching a resolution on the current Trade Dispute.

A revised offer has been jointly developed through positive and constructive discussions, and we are pleased to let you know that the unions have made a strong recommendation to their members to accept the revised offer.

What does the new offer look like? 

Lump sum payment  

An all-inclusive lump sum payment of £450 per person, will be paid to those employed in Offshore Contractor Partnership Agreement (OCPA) positions during the period 7th January 2017 to 31st March 2017. The lump sum will be calculated on the basis of £37.50 per week employed.

2017/2018 

A 2% increase will be applied to the base rate across all Offshore Contractor Partnership Agreement (OCPA) positions with effect from 1st April 2017.  Elements linked to the base rate, including sick pay, will also increase by 2%.

Both parties recognised that in certain circumstances where employees receive packages above the OCA there may already be equivalent enhancements.

What happens next? 

The trade unions have advised that they will carry out a consultative ballot of their members on the revised offer, with a recommendation it is accepted. We would encourage all Union members to vote during the ballot so your voice can be heard.

What are the future plans for the Offshore Contractors Partnership Agreement (OCPA)? 

The OCA, its member companies, and the trade unions remain committed to working together to review and reset the existing OCPA, with a joint focus on protecting the long-term interests of the industry, and employment opportunities within it.

 

For more information contact your Union rep or contact the  Aberdeen Unite office  on 01224 645 271   or e mail aberdeenstaff@unitetheunion.org

offer is also on the unite offshore  webpage  http://ocapayballot2017.weebly.com/


 

 

 

Unite raises serious safety concerns after ban on Airbus Superpuma is lifted

1604455_553072624853627_2823479078712279326_n-super-puma-ec225lp-and-as332l2airframes

Unite raises serious safety concerns after ban on Airbus Superpuma is lifted

15 August 2017

Scotland’s biggest union, Unite, has set up a petition to stop all commercial flights of the Superpuma H225LP and AS332 L2 helicopters in order to provide reassurance to offshore workers that their safety is paramount. This comes after the CAA announced plans to lift the ban last month.

Unite and other offshore unions continue to demand the highest possible safety regulations and training when it comes to helicopter journeys involving offshore workers and this decision jeopardises this.

Unite regional officer, Tommy Campbell said: “Our members are telling us that they have no confidence in the safety of these airframes and neither do their families. Offshore workers deserve to return back home safe to loved ones from working in the North Sea.

“We need not only the usual assurances from the Oil and Gas UK operators, we need them to demonstrate that safety comes first and that they will not support the reintroduction of the Superpuma H225LP and AS332 L2 helicopters.

“Until a full investigation is complete and the results are known there should be no ‘Business as Usual’ return to commercial operations in the UKCS involving these airframes.”

Transporting offshore workers to and from oil and gas installations should be a safe and routine practice. However, Unite is claiming that a significant number of offshore workers and union members have expressed the view that the root cause of the gearbox problem that caused the crash in April 2016 remains unknown and as long as it does they demand the airframes should remain grounded.

Unite will continue to work with all stakeholders in the UKCS  who have a responsibility for health and safety in the Oil and Gas sector to ensure the highest safety standards are upheld and that commercial pressure and profit will not come before workers’ safety.

ENDS

For further information contact: Tommy Campbell 07810157920

Notes to Editors


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Oil platform improvement notices issued over gas detection equipment

LomondImage copyrightSHELL/BG

An oil company failed to install gas detection equipment first recommended 14 years ago, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said.

The HSE said BG – which is owned by Shell – could not demonstrate the adequacy of fire and gas detection systems aboard the Lomond gas platform.

It is 145 miles east of Aberdeen.

The HSE has issued two improvement notices. It said the company had given no adequate justification for the omission of fixed point gas detectors.

A Shell spokesperson said: “Shell UK can confirm that we have been issued with two HSE improvement notices in relation to maintenance / testing procedures and the fire and gas detection system within a small number of process modules at our Lomond installation in the Central North Sea.

“We are currently working to address the requirements of these improvement notices.”

The platform is currently shut down for what was described as planned maintenance.

Earlier this month it was revealed Shell had been issued with a prohibition notice by health and safety inspectors over a gas leak on its Brent Charlie platform.

The installation, 115 miles north-east of Shetland, was shut down following the escape in May, and more than 30 workers were taken off.

 

http://www.hse.gov.uk/offshore/law.htm

 

Unite the Union, welcomes the HSE inspections and more inspections should take place especially after it has come to light recommendations had not been followed.   However, it’s  the UK  Conservative Governments ongoing cuts and ideological choice on the austerity agenda which this attack on jobs and terms and conditions is a direct threat and with a significant drop in the number of inspections both offshore and onshore.

Cuts to staff and resource in the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) this puts offshore Oil & Gas sector workers at a higher risk as there are fewer inspections taking place in this high-risk hazard sector.

 

http://www.unitetheunion.org/news/unite-reveal-shock-25-per-cent-cut-in-health-and-safety-inspectors/

 

http://www.hazards.org/safetypimp/buyme.htm


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Unite is the largest trade union in for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union

today!

http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

 

 

Amec Foster Wheeler ploughs ahead with planned disposal of North Sea business

Amec Foster Wheeler ploughs ahead with planned disposal of North Sea business

Written by  – 10/08/2017 8:26 am

Amec Foster Wheeler chief executive Jonathan Lewis

Oil services and engineering firm Amec Foster Wheeler is ploughing ahead with previously announced plans to dispose of North Sea operations in order to meet competition requirements ahead of a end of year merger with Wood Group.

Amec said the competitive process for the divestment was “already well underway”.

It comes as half year results show a slide in revenue due to “challenging conditions” in the upstream oil and gas and solar markets.

Profits before tax increased to £77million for the first six months of 2017, compared to a loss of £446million last year.

Revenues narrowed from 2016’s £2.8billion to £2.3 billion in the same period, a decrease of 24% year-on-year.

Amec Foster Wheeler said that although underlying revenue was down 24% it had been offset by “better operational performance and contract close outs”.

And chief executive Jonathan Lewis said the £2.2billion merger with Wood Group remains on track to complete later this year.

He added: “I am encouraged that the first wave of benefits of the transformation programme we began last year is now evident.

“Operational discipline has improved, we have more than delivered on our cost saving targets and we have also seen the first tangible signs of sustainable growth: in the retained operations, trading margin is up 180 basis points compared to H1 last year with a 2% increase in the order book since the year end.

“Although, as expected, some of our end markets remain challenging, I am pleased that we are making progress across the business – reinforcing the value of a multi-discipline and multi-market customer offering.

“Looking forward, I am confident Amec Foster Wheeler is now moving in the right direction, and I believe that our people and shareholders will have an exciting future as part of the Wood Group, once the deal closes in the fourth quarter.”

Amec FW said underlying revenue fell 18% in the oil, gas and chemicals market due to “longstanding” conditions across upstream markets.

However North Sea volumes increased due to hook up projects.

The firm also made its first steps in unconventional US oil and gas recovery with progress made into eight “small” shale projects.

Amec said the all share offer from Wood Group was set to close in Q4, subject to clearance from the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

The company has also been drawn into a Serious Fraud Office Probe involving historic allegations of corruption involving Unaoil.

Read more about this here.

In the half yearly results Amec confirmed the investigation but said it was “not expected” to impact on the merger with Wood Group.

As at June 30, the firm had £989million of net debt

 

Shell gets two Lomond warnings from HSE

Shell Oil Spill in the North Sea

Shell gets two Lomond warnings from HSE

Written by   Wednesday, 09 August 2017 09:16

Shell has been given two safety warnings from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on its Lomond facility in the Central North Sea.

Map of Lomond and surrounding Shell assets. Map from Chrysaor.

Lomond is 145nm east of Aberdeen, in Block 23/21a at 83.3m water depth.

According to the HSE, Shell has failed to maintain and test its plant and equipment; and has failed to implement a gas detection system.

The reports states that Shell had failed to maintain the test and plan equipment, specifically the Erskine Process Module (EPM), High Integrity Protection System (HIPS), and associated valves to allow a full end-to-end test of the system in accordance with Shell’s maintenance and testing procedures. Failure to do so has proven Shell to be unable to demonstrate that the system is in effective working order.

The HSE’s inspection found associated valves passing resulting in an inability to test the HIPS transmitters in situ; the last HIPS end-to-end proof test occurred in April 2014; and Shell’s procedures and performance standard require an annual test, in which the HSE said that it appeared to have only occurred once in over three years.

Shell has a deadline of 31 August to comply with this notice.

HSE’s second notice is for the Lomond’s gas detection system.

The UK regulator said that the supermajor failed to install fixed point detectors in the EPM (specific areas are Main Deck East, West and East Mezzanine level, Upper Deck and Weather Deck) and the Lomond process Module (specific areas are Main Deck east, Intermediate Deck process West and Lomond Utilities), or provide adequate justification of their omission.

“You cannot therefor demonstrate the adequacy of your fire and gas detection system of only line of sight detectors,” the HSE report states.

Shell has until 29 September to comply with this notice.

The supermajor confirmed to OE of receiving the notices on Lomond platform, which is currently shut down for planned maintenance, and said that the company is working to address the requirements.

“Shell UK can confirm that we have been issued with two HSE Improvement Notices on 31 May in relation to maintenance / testing procedures and the fire and gas detection system within a small number of process modules at our Lomond installation in the Central North Sea,” a Shell spokesperson said. “We are currently working to address the requirements of these Improvement Notices.”

Lomond was a BG Group asset, which Shell acquired following the Shell/BG combination in 2016.

Shell is the 100% owner and operator of the facility, however, the supermajor entered an agreement in January to divest Lomond in January, in addition to a package of its UK North Sea assets to Chrysaor for up to US$3.8 billion.

The entire package deal includes Shell’s stake in Buzzard, Beryl, Bressay, Elgin-Franklin, J-Block, the Greater Armada cluster, Everest, Lomond and Erskine, plus a 10% stake in Schiehallion.

The deal is expected to close in 2H 2017, and is subject to partner and regulatory approvals.

 


 

Unite the Union , welcomes  the HSE inspections and more inspections should take place  especially  after it had come to light  recommendations had not been implemented   however it’s disappointing the UK Governments cuts in the public sector budget  means cuts to staff and resource of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) this puts offshore Oil & Gas sector workers at a higher risk as there are fewer inspections taking place in this high-risk hazard sector.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/offshore/law.htm

 

 

 

hse


 

Get Protected! Get Active! Get Organised!

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Unite is the largest trade union  for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union

today!

http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

 

 

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