Super Puma crash: Unions call for full inquiry

UNIONS have called for a full inquiry into last month’s helicopter crash in the North Sea which claimed the lives of four people, including a man from the North East, and pressed oil companies to increase their investment in the ferrying of workers to and from rigs.

Wreckage from the ditched Super Puma is brought ashore. Picture: PA

An emergency motion at the TUC Congress in Bournemouth was approved, including support for workers who refuse to travel on a Super Puma helicopter, the model involved in the fatal incident, unless health and safey concerns have been answered.

Delegates said inquiries should be held into the causes of a number of incidents in recent years.

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David Hulse, of the GMB union, said workers had “genuine concerns” about the safety of flights, adding that families of workers should be included in any future meetings.

Super Puma flights

Super Puma flights have resumed, but Mr Hulse said he believed they should have remained grounded until all safety concerns had been dealt with.

Mark Lyon, of Unite, said August 23 was a “terrible day” for the offshore industry because of the crash.

“We want a public inquiry, similar to the inquiry into the Piper Alpha tragedy 25 years ago. We want to know why these helicopters have had five accidents in four years.

“The only way for the industry to demonstrate that safety is of paramount importance is to hold an inquiry to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Unions called for more safety representatives, carrying out regular risk assessments.