The chairman of the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board says communication is the key safety issue cropping up at the board’s first safety forum.
Max Ruelokke, also the board’s CEO, said Monday afternoon in presentations and discussions at the Capital Hotel in St. John’s during the first day of the forum, which wraps up Tuesday, the importance of communication keeps cropping up.
“One of the things that comes out is the continuous need to try and improve how we communicate with one another, in particular the people who are working offshore,” he said.
“The issue was raised by one of the guys at my table. He works offshore. They all do three weeks on, three weeks off. Not a real good method’s in place for him to find out, when he goes back to work — let’s say he’s going back tomorrow — what are the things that have come along in the past three weeks that have been dealt with? What kind of issues have come up? So there’s a bit of a gap there in knowledge and understanding. I think, collectively, we need to try to find a way to address that.”
The focus of the forum — which the board plans to hold twice a year — is helicopter safety, and to update people in the industry about what’s been achieved since the report of the Wells Inquiry into helicopter safety following the crash of Cougar Flight 491, which killed 17 people in 2009.
“We’ve tried to do that on a regular basis. We do do that on a regular basis on our website, but we thought it was important to bring the right people together so we can give it to them first-hand,” Ruelokke said.
The board already has yearly meetings with representatives of offshore companies’ joint occupational health and safety committees, and Ruelokke said eventually the forums will merge, when the safety forum broadens beyond its helicopter safety focus.
About 125 delegates are attending the forum, including a cross-section of offshore workers, management and government officials, Ruelokke said.