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OPITO Makes Travelling to Work Offshore in the Gulf of Mexico safer with new survival training standard

With 2.3 million passengers travelling to work on offshore installations by helicopter in the Gulf of Mexico every year, OPITO is making sure every worker has the necessary training to get to work and return home safely every trip.

The oil and gas industry’s training standards body has set new and higher standards for Tropical Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (THUET). The training has increased from four hours to a one-day course which must be repeated every four years. It covers how to get out of a helicopter in the event of a ditching or controlled landing on sea as well as rig abandonment and sea survival. The training takes an individual through many scenarios to get them comfortable with a safe evacuation of the helicopter whether it is upright or submerged and upside down.

Albert Skiba, OPITO Vice President Gulf of Mexico, explained: “To date survival training in the Gulf of Mexico has been sporadic with no common standard and no common quality control. The new THUET standard goes well beyond what is outlined by the BSEE Bureau of Safety Environment and Enforcement by the US government and is designed to give offshore workers the knowledge, competence and confidence they need to remain safe and in the event of an incident while travelling to work. The initial feedback has been positive with trainees saying they felt more engaged in the training and would be able to apply what they learned in an emergency situation.”

OPITO has developed this common training standard in partnership with industry and training centres in the region are currently seeking accreditation to run these courses.

Mr Skiba added: “The new training standard meets the criteria of all the various operating companies in the region and it is anticipated that more training centres will be seeking accreditation from OPITO to run these courses as demand increases, In the last three years OPITO has been raising awareness in the Gulf of Mexico of our offshore safety training standards, recognised to be the best in the world, and as a result the number of training centres in the region certified to run OPITO courses has doubled.”

Funded by industry for industry, OPITO is the recognised, global authority on safety training in the oil and gas sector. The organisation’s vision is to have common safety training standards accepted and adopted by the industry to significantly improve the safety of the global oil and gas workforce.

OPITO works with governments, regulators and industry all over the world to deliver improved safety training standards and workforce development frameworks. The standards designed by OPITO, have been adopted across the globe. More than 250,000 people per year train to the OPITO standards in 54 countries.

OPITO’s Tropical Basic Offshore Safety Induction Emergency Training standard (TBOSIET), of which THUET is one element, is not mandatory in the Gulf of Mexico but the organisation is hopeful that it will eventually become a statutory requirement in this region as operators accept the value of this three day course over what is currently being delivered.

Group chief executive of OPITO International, David Doig concluded: “One of the most pioneering and hi-tech industries in the world, oil and gas operates in hostile environments and hazardous conditions. OPITO aims to make the industry one of the safest. Every worker, on every helicopter trip has the fundamental right to know that the people around him, or her, are trained to the highest standards. OPITO is that standard. There is no other like it and employers should adopt these standards.”

Issued on behalf of OPITO by The BIG Partnership.

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