Oil rigs are dangerous places, I bet my bottom dollar that you know somebody who knows somebody who has lost a digit or even a limb whilst on a rig. They are also very susceptible to fires and other emergencies. Simply search for ‘oil rig’ on BBC news and you’re confronted with a host of storeis about deaths and accidents on the high seas.
It is therefore essential that safety and emergency strategies are as up-to-date as possible. Researchers at Robert Gordon University, Scotland have set about measuring the offshore work force which was last measured 30 years ago.
According to Project leader Dr Arthur Stewart the work force has increased in weight by 19%, from 11 stone to 14 since the last survey was conducted in the 80s. This size increase has serious implications for evacuation strategies, size of life rafts, helicopter capacity, safety gear etc.
"We want to gather data so we can help the safety of those offshore in their day-to-day work and in emergencies. We can't wait until there is a serious accident before we facilitate bigger people, we need to find out how big the offshore workers are and help them.
"When you're evacuating a rig or a helicopter, you need to know how big people are so you can work out how many people can properly fit in a certain space, such as helicopters and lifeboats.
"Two scanners will be used to produce a 3D image of each offshore worker in the study - one of which has been dubbed as the 'Tardis'"
The scanner Dr Stewart refers to as the “Tardis” is a Hamamatsu Body Line Scanner. With the data collected from that and the portable scanner the team are hoping to save lives and stop potential disasters like the North Sea Oil Super Puma Helicopter which ditched into the North Sea at the back end of 2012. The data collated will be the most accurate yet and future designs of safety apparatus stands a much better chance at saving the lives of our offshore workforce.