We recommend that you go through the content of this short article carefully as this information can be important when traveling to the offshore installation and back. It covers the very basic principles of safe transfer. Of course, the procedures vary from country to country and also different companies can have their policies in place so you must always adhere to them.
On an offshore rig, safe operating procedures and equipment are similar to those on land. Added safety considerations apply, however, involving transportation by helicopter, working over water, and drills of training for various emergency situations. Statistically, offshore drilling has a better safety record than land.
You must report to the heliport on time. Check in early with the dispatcher to see that each name is on the passenger list. Provide all requested information: name, weight (including baggage), company, and designation. Advise the dispatcher and pilot if any type of authorized hazardous material is being transported. Do not loiter around the dock or heliport area. Remain in the designated passenger area until the pilot or captain has given clearance to board. Never attempt to take alcohol, drugs, firearms, explosives, or flammables onto an offshore installation.
The pilot is in total command of the helicopter, passengers, and cargo. Follow instructions! A pilot can refuse passage to anyone thought to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or anyone who appears to be an unsafe passenger for any reason.
Hold lightweight articles like hats, jackets, or raincoats firmly to prevent their being sucked into the rotors. Carry long articles parallel to the deck, keeping them clear of the rotor blades.
Approach and depart aircraft from the front. Walk briskly but do not run. Avoid the area of the tail rotor and boom at all times. Approach or depart the helicopter in a crouched position, keeping will below the rotor tips. Be especially wary in high winds when the rotor blades may dip below six feet.
Do not store luggage until the pilot gives you instructions. This is important as wrongly stowed luggage can become an obstacle when leaving the helicopter in emergency.
When boarding or departing, step carefully on the proper footholds to avoid damage to the craft’s floats. Do not jump!
The pilot is concerned with load distribution; store baggage according to instructions and take the assigned seat. Fasten the seat belt and keep it fastened until told it is safe to remove it.
Inflatable life jackets should be worn during all over-water flights. Return the jacket to the storage area before departing the aircraft.
Before takeoff, each person should note the closest emergency exits, inflatable life rafts, fire extinguishers, or other emergency equipment. Advise the pilot of any problems with the equipment at once. Pay attention to the pilot’s preflight emergency briefing and follow instructions should an emergency occur.
Smoking is not allowed in or around the aircraft at any time.
Never throw anything from the helicopter. This could result in damage to the rotors and is absolutely forbidden at all times.
If hearing devices are provided, wear them as needed or instructed, to prevent any harm to the ears.
In an emergency situation remain in the seat with seatbelt fastened. Do not attempt to jump from the craft; await the pilot’s instructions. Do not inflate a life jacket or the inflatable life raft inside the cabin. Such action would hinder, or possibly prevent, a speedy, safe evacuation.
In this article we have covered the safety precautions to be taken when you travel offshore by the helicopter. However, and quite frequently, the transportation is done by means of the crew boat. Our next article will concentrate on what you shall do when traveling by boat.