Former SAS Captain working as offshore medic and a technician

Offshore medic and technician Chris Hale.

Offshore medic and technician Chris Hale. - Credit: TMS media

A pioneering concept that provides high-level medical cover for oil and gas and windfarm workers has been deployed off the East Anglian coast for the first time.

SSI Energy supplies personnel who are not only highly qualified HSE offshore medics but who are often trained technicians working as part of a maintenance team. The company says its staff are potential life-savers when it comes to medical emergencies offshore.

SSI Energy now has a HSE offshore medic permanently based on the Bibby Wavemaster 1 supply vessel providing support for a large wind farm currently being developed off the Suffolk coast.

Duncan Higham, SSI Energy managing director, said: “Although our medics work around the world, it’s the first time we’ve placed someone on a wind farm development off East Anglia. This is particularly exciting for us as it’s one of the fastest-growing wind farm regions in the world and it shows that developers and companies in their supply chain are taking the welfare of employees very seriously.”

The concept of combining roles of paramedic and technician was brought to the offshore wind sector thanks to a £50,000 grant from the SCORE (Supply Chain Innovation for Offshore Renewable Energy) programme.

Offshore medics, who have to be paramedics, military combat medics or nurses before going on the HSE offshore medic course, train for four years.

The medic technician currently working aboard the Bibby Wavemaster 1 is former SAS Captain, Chris Hayle, who sees an average of one person a day for ailments like strains, sea sickness and general health issues. Their in-depth training means they can prescribe stronger pain relief and other treatments that first aiders can’t offer.

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SSI Energy currently has paramedics working on onshore wind farms in Poland, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, offshore in UK waters and at oil and gas companies in West and North Africa, Australia and the Middle East.

The company has employed a new business development manager, Jonathan Walker, who has nine years’ experience in similar work with United Health Care (previously Frontier Medics), who will serve the Southern North Sea offshore wind industry through an office in Great Yarmouth or Lowestoft.