New helicopter safety regulations in force for offshore workers

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New helicopter passenger size restrictions have been introduced today.

The health and safety regulations state that anyone with a shoulder width of more than 22 inches is classed as Extra Broad (XBR) and must sit next to an appropriately-sized window when travelling to and from installations in the North Sea.

The restrictions were introduced in February 2014 in a Civil Aviation Report which stated that passengers must sit next to windows compatible with their body size, after concerns were raised about larger passengers’ abilities to escape from a ditched helicopter.

Offshore safety body Step Change in Safety says it measured 41,464 offshore workers ahead of the introduction of the restrictions. 

Executive director Les Linklater said: “When the passenger size restrictions were announced in February 2014, we knew the industry had a fresh challenge on its hands.

“But the industry’s response to the measurement strategy has been extremely positive and collaboration from all those involved has meant we have met the deadline on time, with no disruption to helicopter flights.

“Only 2.9% of those measured are Extra Broad, which means we can ensure helicopter passengers will be allocated the correct seats.

“Those in the Passenger Size workgroup have demonstrated a tremendous commitment to the safety of offshore helicopter passengers and the continuous improvement of safety in the North Sea, while being mindful of the cost pressures faced across the industry.”

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