OFFSHORE industry body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) and the sector’s leading safety organisation Step Change in Safety have joined forces to try to assuage the fears of thousands of workers who are having to travel offshore during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They have co-produced the first two in a series of films with the first – co-presented by OGUK’s aviation adviser Graham Wildgoose and Matt Rhodes, from Bristow Helicopters UK and a Step Change in Safety leadership team member – addressing various aspects of helicopter travel including operational procedures.

OGUK’s medical adviser Dr Graham Furnace is featured in the second film, answering questions about the workforce’s concerns around current coronavirus-related medical and health issues.

Among the topics he covers are temperature checking, measures to take when temperatures are high and self-isolation offshore.

The films also feature contributions from OGUK chief executive Deirdre Michie and Step Change in Safety executive director Steve Rae.

In a joint statement yesterday, they said: “Our industry has health and safety at its core and in adjusting to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all had to make radical changes to the way we live and work.

“For many the new normal is working from home, but for thousands of people in our industry going to work means travelling by helicopter offshore to help meet our daily energy needs. The means by which we prepare for, and undertake, these journeys has had to change.”

They added: “These essential changes are by design intended to provide additional barriers to protect against the spread of this virus offshore, allowing us to continue to provide continuity of energy supply to support the vital work that all key workers are undertaking to protect the health and wellbeing of our nation.

“With that in mind it is our duty to ensure that our workforce’s concerns are responded to in a timely and factual manner.”

Yesterday marked the 11th anniversary of the 85N helicopter flight accident in which 16 people died. Because of coronavirus, a virtual act of remembrance was recorded online by industry chaplain Reverend Gordon Craig, and can be accessed here –