Skip to main content

Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-01042: Elaine Smith (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 27 June 2016

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the potential impact on employment in the oil and gas industry, what recent discussions it has had with the UK Government regarding the grounding of Super Puma model helicopters from commercial operation in the North Sea.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 25 July 2016

The safety of offshore oil and gas workers in the North Sea remains of paramount importance to the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government continue to have observer status on the governance body overseeing implementation of the recommendations in the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) review of offshore helicopter safety. Progress has been made on implementing these recommendations in conjunction with the oil and gas industry, helicopter operators and trade unions.

Following the accident involving a Super Puma helicopter in Norway, the CAA introduced restrictions on the use of the EC225LP helicopters prohibiting their use for commercial purposes. After an interim report by the Norwegian accident investigators these restrictions were further extended to prohibit all use of the aircraft until further notice. The Norwegian authorities continue to investigate this accident. The safety of workers is always our top priority and the Scottish Government are content with the CAA’s response to this accident.

It is important there is a collaborative approach to health and safety offshore, including government, the unions, the Oil and Gas Authority and Oil and Gas UK to ensure the continuation and safety of offshore operations in the North Sea. Indeed, Oil and Gas UK has formed a Helicopter Resilience Working Group, which will bring platform operators together to share information and to develop further opportunities to safeguard worker’s safety and collaborate on maintaining and improving production.