Offshore Helicopter Safety — [Sir Henry Bellingham in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:57 pm on 6th February 2019.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North 3:57 pm, 6th February 2019

I am grateful to the Minister for his response, and I thank everybody else who has taken part in the debate.

I know people think that I put a lot of emphasis on what the trade unions say, and I will certainly continue to do so, but I am told that there is less engagement on safety these days. The role of safety officers—particularly offshore—has been diminished. I therefore welcome the support of the Minister, who has said that he will put the boot in at an appropriate place and try to encourage greater engagement through the offshore helicopter safety leadership group.

I was touched by what Mr Carmichael said about the fact that the families have not had closure. The fact that this is ongoing contributes to workers’ lack of confidence. They want closure as much as the families do so they can understand what happened and get their heads around it.

I am grateful for the personal stories. My hon. Friend Hugh Gaffney talked about his family involvement, and that emphasises that we are talking about people’s lives. Hannah Bardell talked about her experience of serving on crisis teams, when people were dying in terrible accidents. I understand her role, and I commend anybody and everybody who is involved in that sort of work when such tragedies happen.

I am grateful for the supportive comments—on behalf of the Scottish Government, perhaps—about a public inquiry. Perhaps a fatal accident inquiry is the way forward. We still need answers about the future of helicopter safety and helicopter travel as new models come into the new industries, such as the wind turbine industry, as well as the old. I appeal to everybody to continue their work to ensure that safety is paramount and that workers get the answers they need.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
has considered offshore helicopter safety.