All UK oil workers are to be given an anti-viral snood to wear to protect them against coronavirus when travelling in helicopters to and from offshore platforms.

Trevor Stapleton, HSE director at trade body Oil & Gas UK (OGUK), said all workers travelling offshore will be issued with the protective face covering — which has a special anti-viral coating — following their routine temperature check at the heliport.

The deployment of the gear will be managed by survival equipment manufacturer Survitec.

"The snood will then be worn in the heliport and for the duration of travel both to and from the installation only. They are single use and personnel will be issued with a new snood for each trip offshore," he said.

“The snood represents just one of the barriers being employed to prevent and manage Covid-19 across our essential workforce.

“Robust checks prior to mobilisation, temperature testing and testing are also in use alongside additional measures to protect the workforce whilst offshore including social distancing, staggered mealtimes, and where possible single person cabin occupancy.

"Taken together we’ve got a comprehensive response but we continue to develop this through listening to our people and continuing to push for expanded testing capability across our workforce.”

The introduction of the face covering follows the work of the Pandemic Steering Group, led by OGUK.

OGUK said it has been tested during surface and underwater escape and has been endorsed by the four main North Sea helicopter companies.