The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board today released the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry into Matters Respecting Helicopter Passenger Safety for Workers in the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area.
On April 16, 2009, the C-NLOPB appointed Hon. Robert Wells Q.C. to head the Commission of Inquiry. The C-NLOPB has been working to develop the Terms of Reference and put the necessary supports in place for the Commissioner to begin his duties.
The purpose of the Inquiry is to determine what improvements can be made so that the Board can determine that the risks of helicopter transportation of offshore workers is as low as is reasonably practicable in the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area.
The Commissioner’s mandate will be to inquire into, report on and make recommendations in respect of matters relating to the safety of offshore workers in the context of Operators’ accountability for escape, evacuation and rescue procedures while traveling by helicopter over water to installations in the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area, in compliance with occupational health and safety principles and best industry practices. Specifically, the Commissioner shall inquire into, report on and make recommendations in respect of safety plan requirements for Operators and the role that Operators play in ensuring that their safety plans are maintained by helicopter operators; search and rescue obligations of helicopter operators by way of contractual undertakings or legislative or regulatory requirements; and the role of the C-NLOPB and other regulators in ensuring compliance with legislative requirements in respect of worker safety.
Commissioner Wells stated that the process will provide ample opportunity for the public to express their views in respect of practices which will reduce risks of helicopter transportation in the offshore area. “The public will be able to make written submissions and there will be formal and informal hearings,” said Commissioner Wells. “There will also be a need to consult other offshore safety regulators in other jurisdictions in respect of best practices and obtain the services of independent specialists with expertise in areas relevant to the Inquiry.”
The Commission of Inquiry offices are located at Tara Place, 31 Peet Street, Suite 213, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1B 3W8. It is expected that the offices will be fully functional and staffed in the coming weeks.
Hon. Robert Wells QC.
(709) 753-7000 or (709) 579-0469
Sean Kelly APR
Manager of Public Relations
(709) 689-0713 (cell)
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