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Safety first – G+ offers good practice guidelines for helicopter operations in offshore wind

The first session in the Wind & Aviation 2021 webinar series will focus on helicopter operations: wind as a customer of aviation services. Sponsored by CHC, the session will present key organisations and experts from the field, each sharing case studies and offering valuable observations for delegates interested in introducing or expanding their helicopter operations. Among the speakers will be Kate Harvey – General Manager of the G+ Global Offshore Wind Health and Safety Organisation – who, in this RenewableUK blog, offers some insight into what the global health and safety organisation, G+, is offering right now.

G+ focuses on four key pillars in everything that we do:

  • Incidence data – we monitor industry performance through incidence data and the 2020 annual report will be published in June.

  • Good practice guidelines – we recently launched guidelines for helicopter operations that we’d like to ensure people working in the field are aware of.

  • Safe by design workshops – these highlight the importance of designing protocols with safety in mind from the very beginning.

  • Toolbox – this is an incidence learning, web-based app, created by the Energy Institute and utilised by G+. It provides a platform to share incidence data, enabling anytime access, which people can submit content for and front-line workers can use to enhance their safety.

Helicopter operations are relatively new for the offshore wind sector, which means there is still much to learn. We have been working with HeliOffshore – who have been in the sector for a long time – to launch complementary guidelines for safe and effective helicopter operations. Having traditionally worked in the oil and gas market, we are very keen to learn from other industries and to collaborate in order to ensure that all helicopter and offshore wind farm operators can benefit.

With increasing use of helicopters in the offshore wind sector, we identified a gap in the market for industry guidelines in order to optimise health and safety standards. We are developing relationships with partners in the field in order to fully understand the needs and challenges faced, and to help produce best practice protocols. We are applying our ethos design solutions from the very beginning of a project for enhanced safety standards, which avoids the need to add on solutions later – which can be far less efficient.

The other benefit of this approach is that it ensures the workforce are properly informed. As companies move into this aspect of offshore wind, many will not have specialised skills within their existing teams. Those who are not yet familiar with helicopter operations will be most at risk of health and safety concerns, so providing them with best practice protocols to educate and guide them is important. They instantly have access to reliable information on how everything works and what needs to be done from a health and safety standpoint.

For any companies thinking about getting more involved with helicopter operations, the relationships between offshore wind farm and helicopter operators are critical. Connections should be made as early as possible to ensure that each party understands their contribution to partnerships, as well as any constraints for them or other organisations within a project. We hope that the Energy institute and G+ good practice guidelines provide a useful place to start.

To access the best practice guidelines, you can contact G+ through their website or on LinkedIn.

To hear what Kate and the various other speakers have to say in RenewableUK’s Wind & Aviation Webinar on Thursday, register here.

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