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CHC prompts safety changes for operators

28th June 2019 - 09:01 GMT | by Gerrard Cowan in Belfast

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CHC’s Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA) programme has prompted a number of changes to the operator’s offshore safety approaches in recent years, the company has told Shephard, from revamped pilot checklists to new helideck procedures. 

LOSAs see trained line pilot volunteers act as passive observers, collecting data about the threats and errors crews are exposed to in the cockpit during routine flights. CHC then collects safety data based on these observations, ‘which then allows us to find both areas for improvement and share exceptional practices’, said Duncan Trapp, the company’s VP of safety and quality.

There have been many benefits from the LOSA programme, said Trapp. The company learned that its pilot checklists were too complex and lengthy, for instance; this led its Flight Safety team to work with lead technical pilots to develop a new procedure. This resulted in the adoption of Scanflow, which looks to minimise the potential for errors by simplifying 'challenge-and-response' checklists so that they focus on essential activities. Scanflow has been trialled, refined and implemented across all of the operator’s flight crews, Trapp said, while the company plans to further test the new checklist approach as its Brazilian arm participates in LOSA this year. 

LOSA provides a chance to observe crews in a natural and relaxed state to better understand threats and errors in a real environment, so is much more than a checklist or audit, Trapp said. 

‘These observations, which take place more than 50 times per region, are added as part of the crews’ daily process. The results are written up and completely anonymised for analysis before being reviewed with our crews, unions, customers and HeliOffshore to drive improvements,’ he said.

The company has completed LOSA work in the UK, the Netherlands and Australia, with work in Brazil currently underway. It will move to Ireland and Norway in 2020.

Trapp said CHC has also identified ways of better controlling its manifests for flights, as well as controlling dangerous goods and other helideck-related events. This has led to further work with its major customers and with HeliOffshore ‘to develop stronger controls not just within CHC, but also for the broader industry’.

The operator’s LOSA programme was expanded as part of its Taking Care safety campaign, which was launched in late 2017. The company recently recorded the lowest 12-month Total Recordable Injury Rate in its history. Trapp said this stemmed from what began as 15 core initiatives, from culture training to LOSA. He also highlighted a new, standardised compliance monitoring programme within CHC’s maintenance side, which ‘provides a more frequent snapshot of how things are handled on the hangar floor in comparison to the ideal scenario’. This data has helped it identify challenges around tooling issues and reference manuals, he said. 

Finally, Trapp highlighted the company’s Safety Culture Survey, which was launched in 2018 and gathered more than 2,200 responses from employees. This helped identify areas to improve safety training, notably when it comes to new hires. The company is using this information to produce a tailored safety programme, he said, and follow up action plans across its regional operations. It is also creating a new set of 15 core initiatives, as it closes work on the original 15.

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