I have been working 14 and 14 for the last 8 months and it sucks . Its a 8-9 drive to the heliport I have to be there at 5 am for a flight that leaves around 8-9 am . Then coming home I work all night get in around 11 am then have to drive home . So that gives me 12 days off, if I have a class( which I seem to have to go at least every other hitch , many of the classes mandated by our government) it is down to having basically two weekends off. Maybe these guys need to investigate the excessive amount of classes and government red tape for marine licenses . We have been trying to talk our company into going 21/21 I dont think this will help the cause . I guess it is time to write my Senators and Reps. again .
Top House Democrats are asking federal officials to investigate whether Transocean’s decision to go to longer, three-week work shifts may have contributed to last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Seven months before the explosion on Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon rig, the drilling contractor switched its workers from a hitch schedule with 14 days on rigs followed by 14 days onshore to one with 21-day rotations.
According to the lawmakers, the “apparent cost-saving decision made by Transocean” had a negative impact on rig crews, who complained of fatigue at the end of the 21-day work periods offshore, according to a survey of the company’s workforce.
“We believe Transocean’s decision to move to the longer shift schedule should be closely examined,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo. “Six of the 11 people who died aboard the Deepwater Horizon were on day 20 of their 21-day shift and a seventh was on day 19.”
Waxman is the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee; DeGette is the lead Democrat on the panel’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
The pair of lawmakers directed their request for an investigation into the scheduling change in letters today to the Chemical Safety Board and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, which is probing the disaster in conjunction with the Coast Guard.
Waxman and DeGette cited documents marked classified that show the schedule shift saved Transocean about $200,000 per rig per year — or about $2.5 million annually for its entire fleet. The extra week of offshore time for workers translated to fewer flights on and off the rigs.
A Transocean spokesman defended the schedule change, and said it offered benefits for both the company and its workers. According to Transocean spokesman Brian Kennedy:
“Staffing drilling rigs on a 21-day-on/21-day-off schedule provides a variety of benefits for both employees and the company, including enhanced continuity of operations due to fewer crew changes, reduced crew travel, more contiguous time for crew at home and longer onshore intervals allowing for more comprehensive training.”
But an assessment of workers on the Deepwater Horizon, conducted in March 2010 by Lloyd’s Register and obtained by the lawmakers, found that employees were dealing with “fatigue issues” under the new 21-day cycles, especially during the final seven-day stretch on board the rig.
According to the assessment, as quoted by Waxman and DeGette, one manager on the Deepwater Horizon said there was a “big difference in their attitudes on the third week. . . . It’s mentally draining and I’ve got to watch my guys closer.” Another manager said the policy was “definitely increasing the risk of an incident.”
Separately Monday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and one of the leaders of a presidential oil spill inquiry questioned Transocean’s claim that 2010 was “the best year in safety performance” in the company’s history.