The Helicopter Safety Steering Group


helicopter jpgThe remit of the Step Change Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) is to work proactively to identify and address cross-industry issues around helicopter safety, related to helicopter operations in the UK oil and gas industry.

Helicopter operators, oil and gas operators and contractors, offshore trade unions, the pilots’ union BALPA, the regulators HSE and CAA and Oil & Gas UK are all represented at a senior level on the work group.

Its purpose is to act on behalf of the industry to steer priorities and act as a communications focal point for sharing information, advice and learning across the industry and with other stakeholders on helicopter safety matters, including assisting with the implementation of recommendations from any related Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) inquiries.

The group builds on the excellent work of the former Helicopter Task Group, which successfully dealt with a wide range of aviation safety issues in the aftermath of the tragic Flight 85N on 1 April 2009.

The HSSG meets five times a year, one of which is the annual Aviation Seminar. Membership of the group is reviewed annually to ensure it continues to best represent the UK offshore sector.


The work of the HSSG


The group also defines possible policies and practices to be recommended to the Step Change Leadership Team and subsequently the Oil & Gas UK Board for approval and implementation on a pan-industry basis. In doing this, it will be supported by the Oil & Gas UK Aviation Safety Technical Group, which provides technical advice and guidance.

The following areas have been identified as key priorities for the HSSG. This list is not intended to be exclusive and may change should other issues arise:

  • Communicating any recommendations contained within AAIB reports linked to offshore aviation incidents and assisting with implementation of any such recommendations.
  • Publication, promotion and ensuring consistent application of common aviation guidelines across the UK offshore industry. 
  • Implementation of HUMS Advanced Anomaly Detection.
  • Introduction of improved helideck lighting.
  • Overseeing development and completion of weather station hub network and generating industry support.
  • Developing recommendation for UK implementation of TCAS II (collision avoidance) system in consultation with the Aviation Safety Technical Group.
  • Developing long-term safety representatives helicopter operations awareness course.
  • Communicating the work of the HSSG to the workforce and wider industry.


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HSSG posters original pdf