With 2.3 million passengers travelling to work on offshore installations by helicopter in the Gulf of Mexico every year, OPITO is making sure every worker has the necessary training to get to work and return home safely every trip.
The oil and gas industry’s training standards body has set new and higher standards for Tropical Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (THUET). The training has increased from four hours to a one-day course that must be repeated every four years. It covers how to get out of a helicopter in the event of a ditching or controlled landing on sea as well as rig abandonment and sea survival. The training takes an individual through many scenarios to get them comfortable with a safe evacuation of the helicopter whether it is upright or submerged and upside down.
Albert Skiba, OPITO vice president Gulf of Mexico, explained: “To date survival training in the Gulf of Mexico has been sporadic with no common standard and no common quality control. The new THUET standard goes well beyond what is outlined by the BSEE Bureau of Safety Environment and Enforcement by the US government and is designed to give offshore workers the knowledge, competence and confidence they need to remain safe and in the event of an incident while travelling to work. The initial feedback has been positive with trainees saying they felt more engaged in the training and would be able to apply what they learned in an emergency situation.”
OPITO has developed this common training standard in partnership with industry and training centres in the region are currently seeking accreditation to run these courses.
Skiba added: “The new training standard meets the criteria of all the various operating companies in the region and it is anticipated that more training centres will be seeking accreditation from OPITO to run these courses as demand increases, In the last three years OPITO has been raising awareness in the Gulf of Mexico of our offshore safety training standards, recognised to be the best in the world, and as a result the number of training centres in the region certified to run OPITO courses has doubled.”