Commercial, Products

Putting on the Pounds Offshore

By Staff Writer | July 3, 2015
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New data on average body size and shape could become a key factor in the design of new safety equipment for offshore oil and gas workers, if we are reading Oil & Gas UK’s 2015 Health and Safety Report right. The July 1 report by that offshore trade association notes that the size and shape of offshore workers came into focus with the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority’s February 2014 on offshore helicopter operations; it prompted a prohibition against carriage of passengers “whose body size, including the required safety and survival equipment, was incompatible with the push-out window emergency exit size,” the July 1 report says. The problem is that, since the last survey of offshore workers’ body sizes was completed almost 30 years ago, the average weight of an offshore employee has increased about 19 percent and “the weight of the heaviest individuals is proportionately even greater.” Oil & Gas UK, together with researchers from Robert Gordon University, in late 2012 launched a study to measure 600 male offshore workers’ body shapes and sizes and produce data representative of the general workforce. In February, Step Change in Safety (an offshore safety advocacy group) said specially trained medics would start measuring all helicopter passengers flying to rigs on the U.K. Continental Shelf. That group previously had said passengers whose shoulder width exceeded 22 inches (55.9 centimeters) would be classified as “extra broad” and be required to sit in a helicopter seat nearest to the most compatible window.
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