The world’s first Category A Emergency Breathing System (EBS), developed by the Survitec Group, has gained approval and certification by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). This is the first major response to the government inquiry and report into helicopter safety, which followed a fatal crash in the waters off Shetland last year.
The development of a new, improved EBS was identified as one of the key requirements of the report. Survitec has been working in association with the oil and gas industry as a priority since then to develop a system with significantly enhanced safety features for offshore workers who travel by helicopter to installations in the North Sea.
Production of the new units has already begun with the first batch, which will be used for training, available this month. The operational roll out will begin immediately after the first wave of training and is scheduled for completion by September 1.
Within this first contract Survitec will supply 3,500 EBS units for use in the UKCS. The company is now working closely with the training agencies, helicopter companies and operators to support the training programme which will cover every person working offshore in the North Sea.
The first deployment is planned for Scatsta/Sumburgh; the second will cover the Southern North Sea (Norwich, North Denes, Humberside, Blackpool) and the third deployment will be to Aberdeen.
Greg Allanach, European MD of Survitec, a member of the Helicopter Safety Steering Group’s (HSSG) EBS work group commented, “We are delighted that all approvals and accreditation have come through for the Category A EBS. This has been an industry priority following the review and is a crucial step in ensuring that the safety of those who work offshore and use helicopters as a mode of transport is as high as it can be.
“We have been working closely as part of this Step Change in Safety group since it began,” said Greg. “Survitec Group worked very hard to support the industry needs. We utilised our Group facilities, including the design centre of excellence in Birkenhead with industry advisors to rapidly develop this innovative world leading solution. The development of the new EBS system itself then followed an extensive programme of water trials to test its capability in all water conditions.”
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