DOC Safety Director Harry Maher says staff safety is DOC’s paramount concern.
“Over the past year we’ve conducted a review on DOC’s use of Robinson helicopters. This has involved commissioning external and internal reports and meeting with industry representatives.
“Having assessed the evidence, we’ve made a decision to err on the side of caution and permanently cease the use of Robinson helicopters to transport DOC employees.
“Ensuring employee safety in Robinson helicopters relies heavily on pilots flying within strict operating limits at all times. We aren’t confident that we can rely on this consistently over time across the many varied conditions that DOC employees face when in helicopters.”
Harry Maher says the impact of the decision on DOC’s work programmes will be minor.
In November 2016, DOC suspended the use of Robinson helicopters to transport DOC employees.
The suspension followed several fatal ‘mast bump’ incidents involving Robinson helicopters, the placing of Robinson helicopters on the Transport Accident Investigation Commission’s ‘watchlist’, and a fatal Robinson R44 crash in Northland.