Companies operating in the oil & gas industry in the UK can find the most up-to-date information and guidance relating to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic on the websites of Oil & Gas UK (“OGUK”), Step Change in Safety and the Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”), amongst others.
OGUK & Step Change in Safety
OGUK is continuing to publish the latest information and guidelines relating to COVID-19 on its website. Specifically, in relation to guidelines on quarantine and self-isolation procedures and requirements:
- OGUK has published a “COVID-19: Movement of Passengers Flowchart”
- OGUK has also teamed up with Step Change in Safety to launch a dedicated online hub with guidance, videos and FAQs. In particular, the videos address aspects of helicopter travel such as operational procedures, arrival and departure protocols and the transfer of passengers. For instance, some of the key guidance on offshore helicopter include:
- each helicopter operator will operate one type of aircraft for the transportation of category C symptomatic passengers coming back from an offshore installation. The size of the aircraft will determine how many passengers can be carried on any one flight. It will be classed as a medevac and a 2-meter separation between the passengers on board the aircraft and the crew must be maintained;
- the aircraft will land at its standard operating base and it will be offloaded by ground staff wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (“PPE”). The passengers themselves will not be processed through the helicopter terminal to avoid any contact with outgoing passengers. However, a company or employee representative will meet the passenger outside the heliport terminal for onward transportation.
All COVID-19 related videos can be found here.
In addition, the HSE website has a dedicated page on COVID-19 which contains up-to-date news and guidance. Currently, there does not appear to be specific guidance in relation to quarantine and self-isolation procedures and requirements for offshore crew, but the HSE has published some general guidance relevant to all employers, including the following:
- the HSE has carried out a short pause on their offshore oil and gas and onshore chemical, explosives and microbiological industry inspection activities to give duty holders time to overcome various immediate pressures and challenges
- there is guidance on employers’ duties relating to the provision and use of PPE at work
- there is guidance on employers’ health and safety responsibilities for home workers
- there is guidance on employers’ responsibilities in relation to first aid cover and qualifications