FSF Launches Offshore Helicopter Standard (BARSOHO)

FSF Launches Offshore Helicopter Operations Standard (BARSOHO)

The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) has launched an offshore version of their award-winning Basic Aviation Risk Standard.  Aerossurance is proud to have worked on the development of this standard (available to download on the FSF website).

In their press release they say:

The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) announced today the expansion of its Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS) suite of documents aimed at managing aviation risk for contracted aircraft operations.  The Basic Aviation Risk Standard for Offshore Helicopter Operations (BARS OHO) continues the theme of presenting a standard in a risk-based format using applicable threats and controls.  For contracted aviation operations supporting the oil and gas sector a comprehensive risk-based standard dedicated to offshore helicopters is an industry first.  The aim of providing a standard dedicated to offshore helicopter operations, as opposed to guidelines, builds upon the success of the BARS Program over the past five years in support of the resource sector and provides greater focus on the threats and challenges unique to the offshore helicopter environment.

barsoho bow tie

Having BARS OHO focused solely on offshore helicopter operations enables the unique threats associated with this challenging environment to be identified and mitigated. Loss of control, controlled flight into water, weather, wrong deck landings and helideck obstacles are examples of some of the threats identified along with associated control and mitigation measures such as survivability and Search and Rescue.  Drawing on all available industry guidance and practices and developed with global industry expertise, this resulting international standard represents leading practice and addresses recent advances within the offshore sector.

“The BARS Program and the underpinning standard is a more effective and efficient way for organizations to manage their aviation risk,” said Greg Marshall, managing director of the BARS program and the Foundation’s vice president for global programs.  “The BARS Program provides opportunity for productivity and efficiency gains without compromising safety assurance, while still giving greater insight into contracted aviation risk.  It is also beneficial for offshore helicopter operators to be routinely contracted to a common standard, with a single audit on behalf of multiple customers.”

A risk-based standard that meets or exceeds all current industry guidance and practices in particular allows those oil and gas companies that don’t have an internal aviation department to confidently focus on their operational aviation risks by contracting to an industry standard, kept current and effective by all stakeholders through a structured review and approval process.  “The Flight Safety Foundation is committed to continued enhancement of BARS OHO as the offshore helicopter industry and its safety practices continue to develop,” said Marshall.

The Flight Safety Foundation pioneered the first ever presentation of contract aviation standards in a risk-based fashion using the bow-tie model.  This is a framework for visualizing risk management and communicating the context of the controls put in place to manage risks.  The use of the bow-tie and a risk-based standard provides all stakeholders the ability to focus on the aviation risk that is being controlled.  It has also proven an effective way to direct improvement initiatives.

Since launching the BARS program five years ago, more than 300 safety audits have been conducted on fixed- and rotary-wing charter aircraft operators worldwide, using accredited auditors.  The number of resource sector accidents has reduced and the closure of more than 8,000 Priority 1 findings and Priority 2 findings has been completed.

Flight Safety Foundation (http://www.flightsafety.org/) is an independent, non-profit, international organization engaged in research, education, advocacy and publishing to improve aviation safety. The Foundation’s mission is to be the leading voice of safety for the global aerospace community.

UPDATE 1 February 2017: An update of BARSOHO (Version 3), fully aligned with the HeliOffshore SPM, is now available.

UPDATE 1 May 2019: BARSOHO Version 4 is now available.

Aerossurance is an Aberdeen based aviation consultancy with a proven track record in offshore helicopter safety, operations, airworthiness, regulations, contracts and tenders.  For practical and independent aviation advice you can trust and first-hand knowledge of IOGP Aviation Management Guidelines (Report 590), IOGP Offshore Helicopter Recommended Practices (OHRP – Report 690) and the FSF BARSOHO Standard, contact us at: enquiries@aerossurance.com