News: Blogs

18 December 2018


Blogs: In 2019, as in 2018, it’s the Commitment and Effort of Our Members That Will Make This Industry Even Safer

Just last week, HeliOffshore held its final All Member Calls of 2018. These were a fantastic opportunity to recap on our collective accomplishments these past 12 months. We also took time to recalibrate our thinking about our top priorities for 2019, and how the offshore helicopter industry can pull together to achieve these. I was very encouraged by the many positive comments we received about the All Member Calls. Above all else, what it brought home to me—and the rest of the HeliOffshore team—is that everything we’ve achieved so far, and everything that we need to achieve next, is only possible through the unprecedented collaboration that we launched together just four years ago in 2014. In the calls, we thanked many leading contributors to our various workstreams, and, when we told them that “We couldn’t do this without you” we really meant it!! You can hear recordings of the All Member Calls and view the presentations via this link. It’s a wonderful summary of where we stand–including next steps–with our key safety programmes.

There is much to feel proud about as we reflect on what was achieved in 2018. It was the year that we made a leap forward in our data sharing initiative with the new HeliOffshore Safety Intelligence Programme (HSIP) now up-and-running with data flowing from almost 90 percent of our members’ combined fleet. This breakthrough, which speaks volumes about the power of collaboration between member companies, gives us confidence that we can gather the data that can guide us to the areas of improvement with most potential to save lives. Once these have been implemented, HSIP allows us to measure their effectiveness in a very objective way. It’s already supporting really practical work in areas such as Approach Path Management and in understanding the key causal factors of returning to base.  Our Safety Intelligence work shows we can be proactive and back up our decisions with real data from the frontlines. We’re expecting very good outcomes from the Return to Base study, which we believe will show that tackling 20 percent of the causal factors would address 80 percent of Return to Base events. In 2019, we intend to publish our first Industry Safety Performance report, which will accurately establish a benchmark for the industry’s current levels of performance—giving us a clearer starting point for our ongoing work and, for individual operators, a way to confidentially evaluate how they are doing compared with others in the industry.

2018 also saw the successful implementation of more Human Hazard Analysis workshops. It was inspiring to see aircraft manufacturers and operators working shoulder-to-shoulder in workshops to understand potential maintenance errors and identify those changes to design, procedures, etc., that would reduce either the likelihood of the error and/or the consequences. Our collective efforts revealed valuable insights that enable improvements to be fast-tracked into service. For 2019, we’re working to set up workshops covering all the leading helicopter types in offshore service worldwide. The power of Human Hazard Analysis has been further validated by requests from manufacturers for HeliOffshore to provide training for design engineers next year.

As proud as we all can be about what we’ve achieved in 2018, we are constantly reminding ourselves that we need to be as forward-looking as possible. What this year’s victories—-and the set-backs too—have reminded me about is that success in delivering our priorities starts with having priorities that all industry stakeholders are aligned around. Achieving implementation and the desired results from these is then dependent on collaborative action, backed up by stage gate reviews to keep us all on track, and having a clear understanding of any barriers that may stand in our way and the enablers we can use to get around (or through!) these.

In this regard, some of the most inspiring moments of 2018 for me were at times when it seemed that there wasn’t necessarily complete alignment between stakeholders and that barriers were blocking our way. Making progress on programmes such as improving Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (HTAWS) to give pilots earlier warnings and implementing Flight Crew Operating Manuals (FCOMs) has been challenging at times. But we have achieved breakthroughs in both areas and the most significant breakthroughs have always stemmed from having the right conversations with the right people who feel they can be completely straight with each other. Our last Safety Strategy Panel, held at the Helitech show in October, was a great example of how this works. Manufacturers, operators and regulators were all at the table and it was great to hear the free exchange of viewpoints and possible solutions to any barriers. You know breakthroughs will come when the conversation is well-grounded in a sentiment of us-and-us, rather than us-and-them. Just as great families don’t always see completely eye-to-eye on every issue, they do share a common sense of commitment and resolve to do the best by their shared objectives.

We’ll need more of this approach in 2019 as we take our next steps together to advance our key programmes, while also striving to create a business environment that truly supports safety. There’s no denying that current business conditions pose challenges for safety. Together, I believe we can make significant progress in areas such as setting standard safety requirements, reaching agreement over safeguards against financial pressure, influencing decision makers to elevate safety value in procurement decisions and to deliver on our belief that safety is an investment proposition that holds value in good times and bad.

The HeliOffshore team continue to be dedicated to the success of our joint safety endeavours. We are so grateful that all our members are sharing this extraordinary HeliOffshore journey. It is a privilege to work with so many amazing people from our 116 member companies. On behalf of the HeliOffshore team, I wish all of you all the very best for the remainder of 2018 and for the New Year to come.

Gretchen Haskins
CEO, HeliOffshore

HeliOffshore Team (clockwise from top left): Gretchen Haskins, CEO; François Lassale, Operations Director; Gill Furlong, Company Secretary & Membership Manager; Dr Matthew Greaves, Safety Intelligence Project Manager; Charles Alcock, Communications Director; Kim Stoby, Executive Assistant; and Scott Carmichael, System Reliability & Resilience Project Manager.