By Renata, from Wikimedia Commons
Oil rigOffshore rig workers are being 3D-scanned to ensure they have the correct safety equipment.
New research to measure the body sizes of offshore workers using 3D scanners has been launched to ensure the correct safety equipment, survival clothing and space requirements in an emergency.
Digital Energy Journal reports that the scheme is being run in Aberdeen and will generate an ongoing capability for measuring the size and body shape of the offshore workforce.
The programme is the first of its kind to be rolled out in more than a quarter of a century and is being led by researchers from the Robert Gordon University Institute of Health and Welfare Research (IHWR) in collaboration with experts from Oil and Gas UK.
The initiative has been set out in a bid to design and implement a systematic assessment of 3D measurements on a sample of around 600 offshore workers.
When collected, the data will be compiled and used to inform all aspects of offshore ergonomics and health and safety, from survival suit design and emergency helicopter evacuation to space availability in corridors and working environments.
The 3D scanner being used to gather this information is the Hamamatsu Body Line Scanner 9036 model by Hamamatsu Photonics, Japan, which uses class 1 lasers of 690nm to triangulate the body position.
Robert Gordon University acquired this machine in 2009 on a lease basis and to date it has been utilised for research requiring precise data for waist shape, weight loss progress and other body measurements.
Deputy director of the university's Centre for Obesity Research and Epidemiology and project leader Dr Arthur Stewart conceived the project along with Dr Graham Furnace, medical advisor for Oil & Gas UK, in 2011 and they have built an experienced support team to complement their research work.
This group includes senior figures from Oil & Gas UK - health, safety and employment issues director Robert Paterson and health and safety policy manager Bob Lauder - as well as data modeling experts Professor Patrik Holt and Dr Eyad Elyan from the university's Institute for Innovation, Design and Sustainability Research (IDEAS).
Furthermore, KTP Associate Robert Ledingham has been selected for the project and will test and calibrate new portable 3D scanning technology at the University's Centre for Obesity Research and Epidemiology.
This is where the first group of volunteers will be scanned before using the machine to compile more information at Falck Nutec's offshore training facility in Dyce.
More than £150,000 in funding for the initiative was secured via a combination of a Technology Strategy Board Knowledge Transfer Partnership Grant and support from several Oil & Gas UK member companies. Survival One in Aberdeen also donated a number of the latest survival suits to be used in the project.
The university team's research showed that a 90kg man wearing a standard helicopter passenger survival suit raises body volume by 44 litres over that of close-fitting apparel.
Dr Stewart commented: "The last body size survey of offshore workers was undertaken in the mid 1980s and since then the average weight of the workforce has risen by 19 per cent. As a consequence the size and shape of the offshore workforce has increased to an unknown level.
"Knowing the actual size of the workforce, together with size increments imposed by different types of clothing, will enable space-related risk to be managed and future design for space provision optimised."