For years they have been certifying other industry-wide training courses and now Helideck Certification Agency has launched its own.
The main aim of the agency (known as HCA) is to inspect and certify offshore helidecks whether located on fixed or mobile platforms, or on the wide variety of marine vessels that support the energy industry (including offshore wind).
A major part of this is to ensure that anyone who works onshore or offshore is adequately trained, has the correct certificates and is competent.
Beginning first with its Dangerous Goods by Air Awareness course, which launched a couple of weeks ago, HCA plans to educate everyone from helicopter admin staff to check-in staff, security staff, baggage handlers, and helideck crews in a bid to “raise the standard”.
Alex Knight, managing director at HCA, explained: “Not everyone needs the same level of training but those in a wide range of roles need to understand and be aware of what dangerous goods are, what a hazardous goods label looks like, and their compatibility when loaded together on an aircraft.
“We have brought our own practical experience of offshore helicopter operations to make the course relevant to the
daily operations we witness in the North Sea and beyond.”
Dave Rae, deputy managing director at HCA, said: “The Dangerous Goods Awareness course is intended for those involved in offshore helicopter operations.
“It covers the treatment of personal luggage as well as freight going into the hold, for example chemicals, electronics and PEDs (personal electric devices).”
To date, HCA has “resisted” delivering industry training because it is a certification authority – for operators across the industry having a course ‘approved by HCA’ carries kudos – but the time has come to introduce its own, as MD Alex explained.
“Due to our status in the industry, we have been approving training courses of other providers for around 10 years – I remember writing the original standard for industry around 2008 as part of the working group – and we will continue to do so.
“However, we felt the time was right, and the demand great enough for us to now launch our own.”
Naturally, safety is paramount to the firm – that is why HCA is responsible for inspecting and certifying 800-plus helicopter landing platforms worldwide and why the UK Civil Aviation Authority works closely with them on implementing many safety initiatives.
HCA also conducts competency assessments of offshore helideck crews to assess how well people understand what they have been taught and how they can execute it in practice, on site. This is an OPITO requirement for those working in the UKCS, as part of both initial and recurring training.
“It shouldn’t be a ‘tick box’ exercise,” insists Dave Rae.
“We like to assess people on the job because the training school cannot reflect the variances of all the helidecks offshore. We noticed that when they have a problem (or an incident), it is usually because correct procedures have not been followed – that’s a competency issue.”
Visit helidecks.org to book an individual place on the eLearning course. Organisations wanting to sign up should contact HCA directly on firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase multiple credits.