The Helicopter Task Group was created by the UK oil and gas industry in April 2009 to address helicopter safety issues, including those arising from the tragic helicopter crash off the north-east coast of Scotland on 1 April 2009. The task group included representatives from offshore operators and contractors, including those involved in the incident, as well as Oil & Gas UK, the offshore workforce, helicopter operator companies, regulators, emergency response organisations and trade unions.

Its purpose was to act on behalf of the industry as a communications focal point for sharing information, advice and learning across the industry and with other stakeholders on matters arising from this and other helicopter accidents. This included assisting the implementation of any recommendations from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) inquiries. The group also defined policies and practices for pan-industry implementation.

In the 16 months since the formation of the group, it oversaw a huge amount of work aimed at improving helicopter safety for UK offshore workers. This included the implementation of modifications and maintenance checks to helicopter gearboxes, the reintroduction and standardisation of personal locator beacons for all offshore workers and the launch of the world's first wide area multilateration system. The group also worked to address workforce confidence issues. This included communication guidelines, a dedicated email inbox, a helicopter operations training course for offshore safety representatives and a DVD distributed to all UK offshore locations.

The Helicopter Task Group is a unique example of collaboration and cooperation, with parties from all stakeholders working together towards a common goal of improving the safety of UK offshore helicopter operations. It has resulted in a number of significant safety improvements, as well as a much more open and constructive dialogue between the industry, aviation sector and regulators.

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