News Archive for National Hyperbaric Centre News

Multi-Million growth for National Hyperbaric Centre

A specialist North-east oil and gas industry support and training facility is on track to double its turnover this year.

The Aberdeen-based National Hyperbaric Centre (NHC), which has been operating in the North-east for more than 25 years is set to see an increase of more than £3m in the annual figures following growth in its consulting, training, testing and hyperbaric welding sectors, over the past six months.

The substantial increase is mainly due to securing contracts with global organisations and expanding into new markets, including Africa and Brazil. As a result of the growth, the NHC has taken on an additional ten employees this year to cope with the demand for their wide range of technical dive support services.

The NHC is a privately owned company offering services including commercial diver training, hyperbaric welding, subsea testing and consultancyto clients in the UK and across the globe.

Managing Director of the NHC, David Smith, said: “I am satisfied with the growth plan for the year so far, we are ahead of schedule and eagerly await the challenges of next year, which we believe will see similar growth and activity expansion driven by expansion into new overseas markets. The service we offer is specialised and recently the oil and gas industry has shown a greater focus on their diving contractors to prove competence within contracts. The diving industry itself is prosperous and the specialised service that we offer is being utilised accordingly.”

The NHC has secured a number of multi-million pound contracts with some major oil and gas operators this year and launched its own software program in April; DiveCert, which is a software package for the diving industry to ensure competence of all diving system equipment.

In addition to providing global subsea expert support and training, the NHC, which was launched in 1987, also boasts hyperbaric pressure test chambers rated to an operational depth of 8000 metres, a work chamber (rated to 1000 metres), saturation system (rated to 300 metres) and an outdoor water test tank. The company delivers a range of services including training courses, testing and trial facilities, research and development, auditing, diving medical support, equipment certification, senior consultancy and hyperbaric lifeboat reception.

Source: National Hyperbaric Centre

Fancy a change of scenery?

The National Hyperbaric Centre (NHC) is now running courses in South Africa. The initiative has been introduced by the NHC due to the demand from the growing South African diving industry which will include its renowned OGP Client Representative, Diving System Auditing & Assurance (DSAA) and IMCA Air Diving Supervisor courses.

The DSAA course will be running from the 31st October to the 2nd of November at Unique Hydra in Cape Town, which will allow course attendees to utilising there diving systems. The IMCA Air Diving Supervisor courses, running from the 5th to the 9th November, and the OGP Client Representative course, running from the 12th to the 16th November, will both be held at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West.

James Ridgeway, Training Manager for the NHC, said “The diving industry in South Africa is going through a growth period which has caused the upsurge in requirement for training, which has been shown by the number of course attendees in Aberdeen from South Africa.”

“The training department of the NHC has seen continued growth over the last 5 years, we now see overseas training as the next stage of growth and making the subsea industry a safer place to work of everyone.

Diving System Auditing & Assurance – 31st October – 2nd November

OGP Client Representative – 5th – 9th November

IMCA Air Diving Supervisor – 12th – 16th November

Source: National Hyperbaric Centre

Failures of Diving System FMEA/FMECA

History

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) or Failure Modes Effects and Critical Analysis (FMECA) are terms used more and more frequently throughout the diving industry, but exactly what is a diving system FMEA/FMECA? The purpose of a diving system FMEA/FMECA is to ensure a systematic assessment is carried out on all diving system equipment, and the support vessel interfaces to identify any areas where the system or vessel interfaces may fail due to equipment operational reliability as well as inadequate operational procedures, lack of redundancy and critical spares required for safe operation.

An FMEA/FMECA shall consider the failure of electrical, mechanical and control systems hardware as well as all supporting documentation. The FMEA/FMECA will identify any Codes of Practice that should be followed during the assessment such as International Codes and Legislation, Class Society Rules, Industry Standards and any Company Management Systems.

The FMEA/FMECA of a system shall assess the effects on different failure modes on the systems operating equipment and vessel interfaces. The failures are ranked for risk based on the probability and severity of the failure and will highlight deficiencies in the system as well as identify mitigation currently in place or required.

The FMEA/FMECA of a saturation diving system is now considered a mandatory requirement within the industry and is highlighted as such in the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) Diving Recommended Practice Report No: 411, dated June 2008. Furthermore it is also considered a requirement under class and would be submitted to the classification society for review prior to the award of class certification.

Guidance of how a diving system FMEA should be carried out is identified within the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) guidance document IMCA D039 FMEA Guide for Diving Systems, dated November 2005.

IMCA D039 is intended to offer examples of a typical methodology used in specifying, performing and maintaining an FMEA for a diving system. It is intended to be reasonably short and concise, thus enabling all levels of management, dealing with the ownership or operation of a diving system, to understand their needs and responsibilities with respect to the FMEA process.

The guide is also intended to offer examples of good practice to the FMEA practitioners and to provide references to other relevant documentation which may assist them in performing a diving system FMEA.

Findings

Initiatives taken by OGP and National Hyperbaric Centre (NHC), including a recently set up task force to develop the OGP Diving Systems Assurance Process and the development of NHC Consulting have identified a growing concern with the content of Diving System FMEA/FMECA throughout the industry.

With the introduction of Diving System Assurance Audits, where all supporting documentation including FMEA/FMECA is reviewed, it has been observed that FMEA/FMECA assessments are not being carried out following the best industry practice of IMCA and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Studies carried out by the NHC on behalf of OGP member and non member operators have identified failures of current diving system FMEA/FMECA such as;

• No consideration to following the guidance of IMCA D039 FMEA Guide for Diving Systems
• No consideration of the support vessel interfaces and services
• No consideration of the diving system planned maintenance system (PMS)
• No consideration as to whether the system drawings are a current representation of the system
• No reference to diving system operating and emergency procedures
• No consideration of a means of verifying the theoretical conclusion
• No consideration as to providing a final conclusion and current status of the system

Furthermore large sections of the diving systems, associated equipment and supporting documentation are being overlooked, as a result not all system failure modes are being considered and existing mitigation identified.

Developments within the industry, with the introduction of Programmable Logic Control (PLC) and automated systems, are also an area of concern as a complete failure of the PLC are often only considered rather than consideration of the various input and output signal failures of a PLC system.

During reviews of several FMEA/FMECA assessments we have identified they have not been used as a “live” document and updated as the system or system procedures are modified and changed. An FMEA/FMECA should always be regarded as a “live” document and be updated periodically when changes to the system warrant a revision.

The Way Forward

In conclusion, it would appear that the industries knowledge and experience of Diving System FMEA/FMECA, as well as guidance for carrying out the assessment and how they should be managed post assessment, is limited.

Therefore further guidance as well as a general awareness of FMEA/FMECA should be provided and should include a more in depth guide as to the competence of the team tasked with carrying out the study. Reviews carried out should also only be carried out by persons competent who have the technical and operational knowledge of diving systems as well as knowledge of the FMEA/FMECA process to do so.

The industry should now acknowledge that carrying out an FMEA/FMECA is not a one man job but should be carried out by a team, all experienced within the disciplines required to provide technical and operational support of the diving system to be assessed.

Current diving system FMEA/FMECA assessments should now all be reviewed by a competent team to ensure that they have been carried out correctly following the guidance of IMCA D039. It should be ensured all diving system related equipment and supporting documentation has been considered and that modifications carried out since the initial assessment have been captured.

Since identifying the issues discussed in this article, National Hyperbaric Centre (NHC) have now assembled a team of skilled individuals with the technical and operational experience to provide the industry with the support required to carry out and review FMEA/FMECA assessments.

Source: National Hyperbaric Centre

Multi million pound contract win for North-east Hyperbaric Centre

A specialist North-east oil and gas industry support and training facility has secured a multi million pound contract with a major global oil and gas operator.

The Aberdeen-based National Hyperbaric Centre (NHC), which offers a range of oil and gas industry support and specialised training services, has secured a three-year contract for the provision of client representatives and diving technical advisors.

The NHC, which has been operating in the North-east for more than 20 years has secured the estimated £3million contract to manage the diving, survey, engineering and ROV onshore and offshore worksites, as well as providing audits and analysis of the clients diving and ROV systems.

The contract will ensure the compliance of all diving equipment and ROV systems in line with industry standards.

Consulting Manager for the NHC, Alexander Harper, said: “Securing this contract is a major step forward for the consulting team. The department is continuing to grow and strengthen, ensuring we provide the level of specialist support to our clients as expected. Being awarded these types of contracts ensures a high level of confidence the industry has in the NHC.”

The NHC is a privately owned company, which boasts a team of experts with a wealth of knowledge in the oil and gas industry. The firm offers a range of oil and gas industry support and specialised training services to clients in the UK and across the globe.

In addition to providing global subsea expert support and training, the NHC, which was launched in 1987, also boasts hyperbaric pressure test chambers rated to an operational depth of 8000 metres, a work chamber (rated to 1000 metres), saturation system (rated to 300 metres) and an outdoor water test tank. Thecompany delivers a range of services including training courses, testing and trial facilities, research and development, auditing, diving medical support, equipment certification, senior consultancy and hyperbaric lifeboat reception.

Issued by Frasermedia Ltd on behalf of the National Hyperbaric Centre

Diving System Auditing and Assurance – Changing Attitudes

Alexander Harper (National Hyperbaric Centre)

Auditing and assurance plays a crucial part of ensuring the safety and integrity of any diving system as well as ensuring efficient diving operations. Therefore it is essential that all diving systems are audited by a competent auditor, periodically or post mobilisation.

The past twelve months have seen a substantial change in diving system auditing and assurance within the industry due to a requirement for higher competencies of diving system auditors. October 2010 saw the release of the International Marine Contractors (IMCA) Information Note D10/10 Competence of Auditors of Diving Systems and Diving Contractors, which was the first of several IMCA documents giving guidance on the competencies of auditors and the process of diving system auditing against the IMCA DESIGN documents.

IMCA D10/10 identifies that the auditor would be expected to have appropriate operational knowledge of the type of diving system to be audited and to have undergone formal training in auditing techniques. For a safety management company audit aimed at evaluation of the health and safety management company management systems of a diving contractor, the auditor would normally have an auditing qualification, and where the auditor does not have technical diving expertise, be supported by a technical assessor.

Although IMCA D10/10 identifies that auditors of diving systems should have undergone formal training, IMCA have also advised this may not be applicable to auditors who have been carrying out audits over the past two years. Auditors in this position can provide evidence of their auditing experience as well as the ability to demonstrate competencies as laid out in D10/10 to provide assurance of their experience.

IMCA followed up the release of D10/10 with the release of IMCA Guidance Note D011 The Annual Auditing of Diving Systems, in December 2010 which gives guidance on the process of diving system auditing against the DESIGN documents as well as the roles and responsibilities of all involved. The document gives further guidance of the types of audits, frequency and variations of diving system audits, to assist with the planning and implementation of a DESIGN audit. For many years the duration of an audit has been stipulated by the client or auditee depending on the time available between diving operations to carry the audit out. This along with the lack of guidance previously of diving system auditor competency has been the root cause of unacceptable audits being carried out over the years.

Now with the guidance from both IMCA D10/10 and IMCA D011 the industry has a minimum requirement for carrying out diving system auditing against the DESIGN documents. This guidance should be followed globally to ensure diving operations can be carried out more safely and efficiently than previously.

The aim of the IMCA DESIGN documents are to provide a comprehensive reference source addressing the philosophy of what equipment and layout is required for a safe diving operation plus the examination, testing and certification requirements necessary to meet agreed industry practice, applicable anywhere in the world. IMCA are currently in the process of revising the DESIGN documents to ensure diving systems meet the criteria the industry now expects. The DESIGN documents will be released under the title of Diving Systems Auditing and Assurance (DSAA) and should be available early 2012.

OGP Task Force

In addition to the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) documentation available to provide guidance for safe and efficient diving operations, the Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) have also developed documentation which is to be followed to ensure compliance with the requirements of OGP within the diving industry. These include OGP 411 Diving Recommended Practice which gives its members engaged in diving operations guidance for a clear and uniform approach to the minimum standard required for managing diving operations.

OGP have also identified the requirement to ensure that diving systems meet a minimum requirement and are audited accordingly. Therefore, OGP have recently set up a task force to develop the OGP Diving Systems Assurance Process. This process will identify a minimum requirement the diving system and supporting documentation must meet and may include documents such as the IMCA DESIGN audit, diving system FMEA, classification society survey’s and planned maintenance systems. Furthermore the process will address a suitable means of auditing Programmable Logic Control (PLC) systems, which are being used throughout diving systems more frequently and will ensure their safety and suitability.

The OGP Diving System Assurance Process task force has been made up of various operators as well as diving contractors and includes BP, Conoco Phillips, Exxon and Shell. The National Hyperbaric Centre (NHC) is also part of the OGP task force and have been contracted to represent Conoco Phillips to provide technical and operational support during the development and implementation of the Diving System Assurance Process.

Industry Development

It is the intent that with the development of the OGP Diving System Assurance Process and IMCA Diving System Auditing and Assurance document, as well as additional information and guidance notes, that safe and efficient operability of diving systems will be greatly improved globally.

To assist with the development of diving system safety and efficiency, the National Hyperbaric Centre have developed several products and services which include the Diving System Auditing and Assurance training course. The three day training course provides the delegates with guidance of the process of auditing diving systems and provides a practical hands on auditing exercise utilising the NHC saturation diving system. This course can be facilitated at the NHC in Scotland or globally where we would carry out the practical session utilising a local diving system.

The NHC have also identified, through its extensive auditing of diving systems throughout the globe, that one of the major contributing factors of audit failings is certification. Therefore, the NHC has developed a diving system software package DiveCert, which manages all diving systems certification while organising it in accordance with the IMCA guidance documents to assist with successful audits.

The industry should now be confident that with the initiatives taken by IMCA, OGP and the NHC there should be enough guidance, products and services available to the industry to ensure diving systems can be audited and operated to provide safer and more efficient diving operations.

For more information on how to prepare your company for diving audits email sharper@nationalhyperbariccentre.com

Source: National Hyperbaric Centre

Mechanical Dive Technician

Overview

Dive Technicians carry out the vital and responsible job of maintaining diving equipment and diving systems. Equipment maintained covers an enormous variety of disciplines and requires a broad skill base. Knowledge of saturation diving systems, air chambers, high pressure gas systems, diving helmets, compressors, and oxygen cleaning procedures only touches upon this enormous subject.

Correct maintenance of Life support equipment is critical and any mistake made during maintenance can be fatal. The importance of correct servicing and regular maintenance is now starting to be recognised throughout the diving and military users of such equipment, and Proof of Competency of persons working on such equipment is now required.

Our Mechanical Dive Technician course has been created to enable a person of mechanical ability to safely maintain much of the life support equipment found on dive sites on inshore and offshore diving environments.

The syllabus offers an excellent practical background of diving equipment and systems maintenance and comprehension of relevant legislation, industry standards and systems including IMCA’s DESIGN document, and Planned Maintenance Systems.
  
Course Objectives

This training course has been designed to enable rapid progression onto the Dive Technician Scheme. Completion of this module prepares the new entrant for practical work as a workshop trainee.
 
Course Content

The course commences with theory of what happens to humans and equipment in underwater and pressurised environments. It introduces the student to the effect of different gases and the safety implications of their use. The types of Diving systems and diving equipment used in different diving operations and techniques are clearly identified.
 
Experienced Diving and Life Support Technicians provide professional classroom tuition including modules on the following topics:

• Industry Overview
• Diving Techniques
• Legislation
• Diving Physics
• Effects of Pressure on Divers
• Diving Systems
• Planned Maintenance Systems
• Plant & Equipment
• Life Support Systems
• Oxygen Cleaning
• Pressure Testing

Entry Requirement

Mechanical aptitude, and ideally, a National mechanical training qualification experience is preferred.

Certification

On completion of the course each student is issued with a completion certificate.

Course Duration

10 Days

For further information & booking visit the NHC Training website

Full Training Course List

Air Diving Supervisor (IMCA)
Air Diving Supervisor Emergency Procedures Assessment
Bell Diving Supervisor (IMCA)
Bell Survival Packs & Emergency Personal CO2 Scrubber
Chamber Operator
Client Representative
Dive System Auditor
Diver Medic Refresher – DMT (IMCA)
Diver Medic Technician – DMT (IMCA)
Diving Familiarisation
Diving Masks & Helmets Technician
Introduction to D.E.S.I.G.N Audits
Introduction to Subsea Systems
IOSH Managing Safely
IOSH Working Safely
Leadership Training (NORSOK)
Life Support Technician – LST (IMCA)
Mechanical Dive Technician
Subsea Controls Operators Generic Overview
Subsea Rigging & Lifting

Diving Consulting specialist joins the team

Sandy Harper has recently joined the National Hyperbaric Centre’s as their new Diving System Technology & Consulting Manager. Read more…

Life Support Technician – LST (IMCA)

Overview

Life Support Technicians carry out the vital and responsible job of maintaining safe conditions for divers living and working under pressure during deep diving operations Worldwide. They must be able to operate high pressure equipment, mix heliox diving mixtures, monitor the saturation chamber environment, and as part of a team carry out pressurisation and decompression, identify and treat decompression illness and other pressure related injuries and be able to deal with a variety of emergency situations, from fire in the chamber to hyperbaric evacuation.

Course Objectives

This training course is designed as a basic course for new entrants to the IMCA Life Support Technician scheme. The scheme commenced in 1984 to provide for all personnel engaged in life support, forming new entrants through to the most senior grade, within a structured career progression.

Course Content

The course provides a comprehensive theory and practical element which prepares the new entrant for work as an Assistant LST. Experienced Diving and Life Support Supervisors provide professional tuition on the following topics:

·         Diving Physics Legislation

·         Gas Handling

·         Gas Toxicity

·         Thermal Balance

·         Plant & Equipment

·         Anatomy & Physiology

·         Life Support Systems

·         System Monitoring

·         Emergencies

·         Diving Systems

·         Hygiene

Entry Requirement

No prior experience is needed, although a basic knowledge of physics would be an advantage.

Certification

 

On completion of the course, and after having successfully passed the NHC in-house examinations, you are issued with an IMCA approved NHC certificate. You must then go offshore and log a minimum 2,400 panel hours as an Assistant LST, after which you can take the IMCA Life Support Technician exam.

Course Duration

10 Days

For further information & booking visit the NHC Training website

Full Training Course List

·         Air Diving Supervisor (IMCA)

·         Air Diving Supervisor Emergency Procedures Assessment

·         Bell Diving Supervisor (IMCA)

·         Bell Survival Packs & Emergency Personal CO2 Scrubber

·         Chamber Operator

·         Client Representative

·         Dive System Auditor

·         Diver Medic Refresher – DMT (IMCA)

·         Diver Medic Technician – DMT (IMCA)

·         Diving Familiarisation

·         Diving Masks & Helmets Technician

·         Introduction to D.E.S.I.G.N Audits

·         Introduction to Subsea Systems

·         IOSH Managing Safely

·         IOSH Working Safely

·         Leadership Training (NORSOK)

·         Life Support Technician – LST (IMCA)

·         Mechanical Dive Technician

·         Subsea Controls Operators Generic Overview

·         Subsea Rigging & Lifting

  

Leadership Training (NORSOK)

Objectives

The objective of this course is to enable the entrant to reflect upon their role as a team leader. The course seeks to question how and why entrants make certain decisions, how they communicate and cooperate within a team, why they adopt particular leadership styles and how they plan and organise the tasks before them. This will be achieved through inter-active participation in theoretical exercises and feedback, dialogue and completion of development plans within the entrant’s context. Read more…

Getting ready for Decommissioning – and view it from your office..

As the industry prepares to decommission some of the older oil platforms within the North Sea the National Hyperbaric Centre has been a hive of activity over the last few months. Read more…

IOSH Working Safely

Overview

The IOSH one day introductory course on working safely is aimed at staff with no supervisory or managerial responsibility but who should have an understanding of the essentials of working safely. Read more…

IOSH Managing Safely

IOSH Managing Safely

Overview

The IOSH Managing Safely course is an introduction for Managers and Supervisors on managing health and safety in their teams and workplace and the opportunity to gain a basic qualification. Read more…

Introduction to Subsea Systems

• An essential course for all new starts to the Oil & Gas Industry
• A refresher for those wanting to update their awareness of the industry

Read more…

Diving Masks & Helmets Technician

Overview

Delivered by qualified technicians with vast experience in all aspects of diving breathing apparatus, our technical training room has been specifically designed with purpose built test bench facilities producing a high quality learning environment.

Read more…

Diving Familiarisation

Overview

This introductory course provides non-diving personnel with an understanding and appreciation of the principles of diving, various diving techniques, the equipment used in diving operations and the considerations on planning and executing diving operations.

Read more…

Diver Medic Technician (IMCA)

Overview

The IMCA Diver Medic course is required for divers, as a pre-requisite for diving team selection that involves saturation and air diving world-wide, by many major diving operators.  Experienced instructors provide high quality training in diving procedures and diving medicine.  The course is intensive with practical and theoretical modules. Read more…

Diver Medic Refresher (IMCA)

Overview

This 5 day refresher course has been designed for those wishing to renew their IMCA Diver Medic Technician Certificate.

The course is led by instructors highly experienced in diving procedures and diving medicine. Read more…

Dive System Auditing

Course Objectives

To enable delegates to become fully aware of dive system auditing procedures, utilising IMCA documentation and development of knowledge of industry recommendations and ‘best practice’. A fundamental thread of the course is the term ‘competency’ and how to identify the competency of individuals to carry out audit procedures to comply with IMCA recommendations as per IMCA D011. Read more…

Introduction to D.E.S.I.G.N Audits

A one day course in Understanding the Principles of IMCA’s DESIGN and Dive System Auditing. Read more…

Competency Assessment of Diving Mask & Helmet Technicians

Overview

This assessment is to ensure that already qualified ‘Diving Hat Maintainers’ are able to re-validate their certificate of competence without having to complete a full three day course. It should only be undertaken by personnel who have current experience of regular maintenance of diving masks and helmets and possess an in-date certificate. Read more…

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