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Planned helicopter changes 'risk to safety'

Planned changes to ­helicopter rules will put thousands of offshore workers in danger, oil industry bosses warned yesterday.

Proposals include the introduction of new breathing equipment, workers being made to sit in window seats and seriously overweight workers not being allowed to fly in choppers.

The changes are being made in a bid to improve safety in the wake of a spate of helicopter crashes offshore. But the trade body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) has warned the changes may have "serious adverse consequences" on safety, as more flights will have to be laid on.

OGUK told Westminster's Transport Select Committee the tight timetable for reforms — due to come online in June — means maintenance work on offshore platforms and pipelines may be shelved, raising the likelihood of "serious incidents" such as leaks.

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