Super Puma Helicopter raises Safety issues for Offshore Workers


Hundreds of North Sea oil and gas workers have said they would never travel in a helicopter involved in a series of fatal crashes, amid speculation about its potential reintroduction. Three-quarters of respondents to a survey by Unite the union said they would be unwilling to board Super Pumas, which were removed from the sector in 2016.

The poll, of 1,200 workers, was conducted after a number of safety concerns were recently raised about helicopters flying workers to and from offshore installations and platforms.

It follows a crash in February near Bergen, Norway, involving a different make of helicopter, the Sikorsky S-92, in which one person died. The S-92 is the primary helicopter used across the UK and Norway, but a recent shortage of spare parts has seen some of the aircraft grounded. Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) said it was aware of concerns expressed by offshore workers in Unite’s survey regarding the Super Puma aircraft.

However, it added there were no plans to reintroduce the aircraft any time soon.

Craig Wiggins, executive director of Step Change in Safety, said it would play its part in facilitating engagement with the workforce to ensure its concerns were heard and addressed.

A spokesperson for Sikorsky, which manufactures the S-92 helicopter, said the aircraft met the industry’s recognised standard for safety and reliability.

The company said it continued to support and see improvement in the supply chain and was working tirelessly to serve the S-92 operating community.