The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) says it does not believe there is a safety issue with the suits currently in use for transporting offshore workers. There have been issues around comfort and convenience, but no safety issues have been identified. If a safety issue arises, it will be assessed and appropriate action taken.
The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) introduced the current Standard for these suits in 1999, replacing a previous Standard issued in 1989. The suits currently used in the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area are certified by Transport Canada as being in compliance with this Standard.
The CGSB has in place a committee to provide advice and input into this Standard. The C-NLOPB is represented on this committee, along with the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NSOPB), the National Energy Board (NEB), the Government of Canada, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Marine Institute, the oil and gas industry, the fishing industry and suit supplier representatives. In all, there are 28 members on the CGSB committee. Several of the committee members have identified concerns with the technical content of the current Standard, but importantly, no safety issues have been identified with the suits.
Committee members are currently in the process of developing a project agreement with the CGSB for the revision of the Standard during the 2009-10 fiscal year. The C-NLOPB has had discussions with both governments and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) on this issue. Consequently, we all agreed to contribute financially to the cost of developing a revised Standard, which would seek to address any concerns in the current Standard, and are in the process of conveying this message to the CGSB.
In response to the current helicopter tragedy, we have asked the Transportation Safety Board, the RCMP and the Medical Examiner’s office to advise us if their investigations reveal any evidence that the suits worn by the helicopter passengers, in any way, contributed to the injuries or fatalities that occurred as a result of the accident.
In addition, the C-NLOPB has asked CAPP to provide us with a list of any issues their offshore workers have raised concerning the current suits, and details on actions taken to address any such issues.
The C-NLOPB, the Provincial Government, the Federal Government, other regulatory agencies and the industry are committed to working with the Canadian General Standards Board to remedy any concerns with the Standard. For more information about the Standard, contact the CGSB or Transport Canada.
Sean Kelly APR
Manager, Public Relations
(709) 689-0713 (cell)
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