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Audit of helideck and emergency preparedness on Oseberg Øst

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), in cooperation with the Civil Aviation Authority, carried out an audit of Norsk Hydro's Oseberg Øst facility during the period 6-8 December 2004. The audit targeted the helideck on the facility and emergency preparedness functions linked to the helideck.


Background for the audit

The PSA planned a number of audit activities in 2004 with primary focus on helicopter decks.

The activities were carried out with technical assistance from the Civil Aviation Authority.

The audit was conducted on the basis of the Management Regulations, Section 11 Manning and competence, Section 20 Handling of non-conformities, Section 21 Follow-up and Section 22 Improvement; the Facilities Regulations, Section 71 Helicopter decks, cf. Regulations relating to continental shelf flights - commercial aviation to and from helicopter decks on permanent and mobile offshore installations, BSL D 5-1; and the Activities Regulations, Section 68 Handling of situations of hazard and accident.

Purpose of the audit

The objective of the audit was to verify that Hydro's management system safeguards HSE and emergency preparedness linked to the helideck in a prudent manner, as well as to prevent aviation accidents that can be attributed to properties of the helideck or its operation.

Oseberg Øst, facility and lokation mapDuring the audit, attempts were made to verify that the helideck on Oseberg Øst satisfies the regulatory requirements as regards loads in relation to the aircraft used, placement, design, size, obstacles, general requirements, visual aids, operational equipment, fire and rescue preparedness, maintenance and operation, and the operations and emergency preparedness manual.

The review of the management systems targeted organization, competence, maintenance, handling of non-conformities and improvements, based on the operation of the helideck and key emergency preparedness measures associated with the helideck.

With regard to emergency preparedness on the facility, focus was also aimed at evacuation equipment, evacuation routes, marking of evacuation routes, as well as the emergency response organization, with the tasks associated with handling incidents on and near the helideck.

The review of the management systems targeted organization, competence, maintenance, handling of non-conformities and improvements, based on the operation of the helideck and key emergency preparedness measures associated with the helideck.

With regard to emergency preparedness on the facility, focus was also aimed at evacuation equipment, evacuation routes, marking of evacuation routes, as well as the emergency response organization, with the tasks associated with handling incidents on and near the helideck.

Result of the audit

The audit did not reveal any factors on Oseberg Øst that will lead to a notification of order.

Several non-conformities were identified, as well as observations of conditions with a potential for improvement.

There was no time during the audit to carry out an emergency preparedness exercise in connection with the helideck.

Moreover, weather conditions were such, with winds above 50 knots in periods, that implementation of an emergency exercise on the helideck was not advisable.

The following factors are described in more detail in the audit report:

  • Non-conformity - obstacle-free take-off and landing sector: Link station constitutes an obstacle in 210° obstacle-free sector.

  • Non-conformity - marking: Upon arrival at the helideck there were no easily visible signs prohibiting remaining on the helideck, smoking, open flames or personnel traffic on the deck during start and landing.

  • Non-conformity - rescue equipment: Cabinet for storage of equipment was not properly labelled.

  • Non-conformity - fire protection equipment: Cabinet for storage of equipment was not properly labelled.

  • Improvement item - safety net. The safety net was damaged in the north, west and southwest, as well as in the bearing structure in the southwest.

  • Improvement item - wind sock. The wind sock on the south side needs to be replaced.

  • Improvement item - marking: Parts of the general marking on the helideck were flaking and worn.

  • Improvement item - marking: Need to mark railings in approach areas on the north and west.

  • Improvement item - marking: Need to refurbish marking on the fixed railings in the 150° sector.

  • Improvement item - marking: Need to improve marking and highlight access threshold in the north and west.

  • Improvement item - marking: Need to mark front and roof of helideck shelter with contrasting color.

  • Improvement item - lighting: Uncertainty regarding brightness of the helideck's flood and edge lighting.

  • Improvement item /remark - meteorological equipment: Uncertainty regarding wind gauge B and measurement of wind strength.

  • Improvement item - meteorological equipment. Significant difference between wind gauges A and B as regards measurement of wind strength.

  • Improvement item - operation: Platform manager was not informed in writing at regular intervals regarding status of the helideck, equipment and services.

  • Improvement item - operation: Need to expand the daily checklist for the helideck.

  • Improvement item - operation: Brake blocks lying on the helideck.

  • Improvement item - Emergency number 112 was not implemented on Oseberg Øst.

  • Improvement item - Robustness of the emergency response organization - overview of reserve personnel.

  • Improvement item - Health requirements for response personnel were not implemented.

  • Improvement item - Breathing/smoke masks in cabins were not included in the maintenance system.

Link:

Contact person i the Petroleum Safety Authority
Mike Theiss