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Audit of the helicopter deck and preparedness on Heimdal

In cooperation with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), we conducted an audit of Norsk Hydro's (Hydro's) Heimdal facility during the period 20 - 21 September 2005. The audit was directed towards the helicopter deck and the preparedness related to the helicopter deck.

Background for the audit

Our overall aim is to contribute to reducing the risk level in the offshore petroleum activities by auditing how the players maintain technical and operational integrity on the facilities, and following up the interaction between man, technology and organisation in critical HSE systems.

A priority area in 2005 has been the audit of Hydro's management of its operations activities and ensuring that the company safeguards the technical integrity of its facilities.

HeimdalHelicopter decks and preparedness are two of the areas where we choose to conduct audits in this connection. With technical assistance from CAA, we have planned to conduct several audits focusing especially on helicopter decks, and this audit is included in the plan for 2005.

The audit was conducted on the basis of the Management Regulations, Sections 11, 20, 21 and 22, the Facilities Regulations, Section 71 relating to helicopter decks, cf. Regulations relating to continental shelf flying, commercial air traffic to and from helicopter decks on offshore fixed and mobile facilities, BSL D 5-1, and the Activities Regulations, Section 68 relating to handling of emergency and accident situations.

Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was to verify that Hydro's management systems maintain HSE and preparedness in a safe manner related to the operation of the helicopter deck. In addition, the supervisory authorities want to contribute to prevent air traffic accidents traceable to the helicopter deck itself or its operation.

During the audit, we attempted to verify that the helicopter deck on Heimdal meets the regulatory requirements regarding loads related to aircraft employed, placement, design, size, obstructions, general requirements, visual aids, operative equipment, fire and rescue preparedness, maintenance and operation and operation and preparedness manuals.

During the review of the management systems, the organization, competence, maintenance, deviation processes and improvements were emphasized with a basis in operation of the helicopter deck and central preparedness measures related to the helicopter deck.

Regarding the preparedness on the facility, we also focused on evacuation equipment, evacuation routes, marking of evacuation routes, as well as the emergency response organization and emergency personnel, including the tasks that are related to handling incidents on and near the helicopter deck.

Result of the audit

The result of the audit originates in interviews with the employees on board, observation of an emergency exercise and inspections on the facility. Prior to going offshore, we received relevant controlling documents from Hydro which in addition to statutory and regulatory requirements and the authorities' goals for the audit, were used as a basis for the audit.

During the audit, an emergency exercise was carried out in relation to the helicopter deck. We observed the exercise both on the helicopter deck and with the emergency response management in the central control room. Afterwards we participated in the personnel's review of the drill.

An inspection round was carried out together with the platform management and a Hydro observer in order to check emergency equipment, marking of escape routes and other safety marking.

The audit did not reveal any non-conformities on Heimdal which entail a notification of order. However, we did note non-conformities in relation to the current regulations. The non-conformities were related to obstructions during departure and landing, faulty marking and some operational conditions. Other observations made by the audit team related to aviation safety and preparedness are indicated as improvement points.

The following factors are commented on in the audit report:

  • Obstructions in departure / landing sector: Access balconies constitute the obstruction.

  • Insufficient marking of the helicopter deck's outer limits.

  • Insufficient revision of the checklist for the helicopter deck.

  • Insufficient information to platform manager concerning the helicopter deck's equipment and services.

  • Insufficient marking of e.g. helicopter deck arches and marking of emergency exits.

  • The deputy role in the emergency organization is not drilled.

  • Insufficient equipment in the spare/extra fireman equipment cabinet.

  • Insufficient knowledge of the MOB capacity on board the emergency vessel (one or two equivalent systems).

  • Insufficient marking of evacuation routes in parts of the outdoor area - particularly the drill floor (the Byggve-Skirne module).

Contact in the PSA:
Mike Theiss