Shetland Helicopter Crash: RMT Calls for Improved Safety Regime

Shetland Helicopter Crash RMT Calls for Improved Safety Regime

UK’s Offshore union RMT is organising a rally today at its new Aberdeen headquarters at 106 Crown Street at 11am in the wake of Friday night’s ‘Super Puma’ helicopter crash off Shetland.

The rally will be attended by families of victims of offshore safety failures, where the union will repeat calls for an improved safety regime.

The union has announced that a previously planned protest at Super Puma operators CHC has been suspended after an agreement was reached in talks held Tuesday evening with the employers which will meet the unions core demand of guaranteed access to the offshore workforce on platforms and at heliports.

To remind, the talks between employers and the union were held after the union demanded the lifting of the ban on union access to the offshore workforce which is “an infringement of basic rights and makes a mockery of pledges on offshore worker safety.”

RMT General secretary Bob Crow said: “Following talks with the employers tonight we have secured a massive breakthrough on our core demand of workplace access which will enable us to build an organisation that can fight for real collective improvements to offshore working conditions including on the central issue of safety.”

In a separate statement Crow also said: “No one should underestimate the level of grief and anger felt amongst the offshore workforce in light to Friday night’s latest disaster. That anger can be seen across the social media sites.  25 years after Piper Alpha the industry is today confronted by another series of basic demands and assurances on worker safety.

 “The entire Super Puma fleet must remain grounded until the causes of this latest event are established and dealt with thoroughly to the unions satisfaction and we will support any member who refuses to board any suspect aircraft type in light of this disaster.”

The Super Puma L2 helicopter, owned by CHC was on approach to Sumburgh Airport at 18.30 BST (17.30 UTC/GMT) on Friday, August 23, when contact was lost with air traffic control. The helicopter crashed into the water, approximately two nautical miles west of Sumburgh. It had travelled from Aberdeen to the North Alwyn platform and then on to the Borgsten Dolphin before heading toward Sumburgh.

Eighteen people were on board the helicopter at the time of the incident.  16 passengers and two crew.  Four people died.

According to several  sources, the aircraft lost power and hit the sea.  It was not a controlled landing.

“The helicopter just dropped, no time to brace. It rolled when it hit the water,” one survivor told Sky News.

Offshore Energy Today Staff, August 28, 2013