Helicopter underwater escape training – where does your job take you?
Our Network Construction crews never hesitate to work in some of the roughest and remote outdoor environments in Australia; abseiling to improve coverage, working in the outback or working on oil and gas rigs and other mining sites, all to keep our customers connected.
One recent example is how a Network Construction team undertook Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) for oil and gas rig site surveys in Bass Strait. And while the team is now highly-trained to travel by helicopter, they’re hoping not to have to use to their new skills when they visit customer offshore oil and gas platforms.
Our site survey teams included Warren Arbuckle and Benjamin Buyuknisan from our Network Design group partnering with Network Construction’s Vic/Tas regional field technicians Don Lawrie and Darryl Bastin.
Darren Bastin (L) and Warren Arbuckle (R) aboard the West Tuna Platform
The team told me that eating, sleeping and working on these platforms and the unique travel arrangements provided an interesting work environment with the opportunity to experience nature at sea. When there’s not work to be done the rigs offer stunning ocean views including the chance to see pods of whales and dolphins, along with innovative seals who rather cleverly manage to slither up the steelwork at high tide and access lower gantries to relax in the sun.
Prior to what would be a physically demanding training course, team members were advised of the following medical precautions; any persons with deafness, punctured eardrums, ear surgery or other problems must seek medical attention before taking the course.
The course was held over two days at Longford where the group practiced jumping from 1.3-3 metre heights, floating in water with life jackets, climbing aboard life rafts and being winched from the rafts. One of the more challenging exercises was performed inside a mock helicopter cabin where teams endured eight vertical and inverted dunks under the water. In addition to the course, the survey teams also needed to obtain Maritime Safety Identification Cards, enabling them to perform work on the platforms.
This training for Telstra site surveys came as a result of Network Construction’s consultancy with a gas and oil exploration company to upgrade communications between their onshore and offshore Bass Strait Gas facilities; which are located off Longford in the Bass Strait and are only accessible via helicopter.
The success of the project to-date is a direct result of the collaborative team effort that has drawn on the experience and expertise from different parts of the Telstra team.
Network Construction teams worked closely with Telstra Enterprise & Government and other internal and external stakeholders to fully understand customer requirements and the scope of work for the project.
The team has now provided a detailed design strategy to our corporate customer to assist them in upgrading their essential communication services between many remotely placed sites.
The Bass Strait project is just another example of Network Construction’s commitment to serving Telstra customers.