Recently completed trials organised by HeliOffshore have demonstrated the potential for improving safety for offshore helicopter operations by taking a new approach to prioritising maintenance tasks. The trials involved applying new Human Hazard Analysis techniques that help operators’ maintenance engineers and OEM design engineers to assess priorities. The response to the trials has been positive with two leading OEMs now committed to adopting the new approach with operators.
During a three-day workshop in December, five maintenance engineers from HeliOffshore member operator Heli-One and two technical representatives aircraft manufacturer Airbus Helicopters compared the tasks selected under the Human Hazards Analysis process to those determined by Airbus design engineers using a “rating” method developed by the manufacturer. The workshop participants identified initial tasks prioritised by both groups for the Airbus H225 aircraft. These tasks will be subject to further analysis early by Airbus and the HeliOffshore team in the coming months.
HeliOffshore is planning to have further meetings with Airbus to determine how the Human Hazard Analysis process might be refined and applied to other aircraft types as a result of the trial. The offshore helicopter safety organisation also is considering plans for possible further trials with other operators and OEMs. There also is a possibility that HeliOffshore could produce a training course on human factors in design, based on the lessons learned from the Human Hazard Analysis approach.
Human factors experts from the global offshore helicopter safety association are preparing to start working with a second, as yet undisclosed, OEM and one of its member operators to develop the programme for another helicopter model.
The hope is that wider application of Human Hazard Analysis could result in changes to the design of aircraft that would make them more resistant to human error. The process could also result in further developments to maintenance training that help individuals to highlight the errors that can occur and their impact on particular tasks. It may also result in improvements to maintenance documentation.
The Royal Aeronautical Society’s Aerospace magazine has published an article on Human Hazard Analysis authored by the HeliOffshore team, consisting of project manager Scott Carmichael and consultants Dr Hazel Courteney and Dr Simon Gill.
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