Annually, a million hours are flown by helicopters for the international petroleum industry. About 90% of this flying is offshore, and involves around 10 million passengers. Each year some 25–35 accidents are recorded, an average of 22 passengers and crew lose their lives, and a higher number are injured. Some 45% of these accidents stem from technical causes, a similar number are pilot related, ... [Show full abstract] and the remainder are linked to other causes. Helicopter accident rates are 10 times higher than those of airline travel.Strategies to tackle both technical failures and pilot related accidents have emerged, although application of these strategies around the world is inconsistent.One way in which helicopter technical issues have been addressed is by the introduction of Health and Usage Monitoring (HUMS) equipment. To tackle the pilot related accidents, lessons have been drawn from the airline industry’s use of Flight Data Management (FDM) programs, which allow pilots to learn from deviations from pre-defined normal parameters during routine flying. The helicopter version of FDM is the Helicopter Operations Monitoring Program (HOMP). Another important training tool is flight simulator training to allow simulated emergencies to be flown and practiced.Petroleum companies have the opportunity through their own aviation policy and standards to stipulate flight crew experience and training, the technical specifications for their contracted helicopters and the application of advanced safety programs, such as HUMS, and HOMP. Compliance and continuous improvement in line with these standards can be verified and facilitated through operational and technical audit. Only with such active involvement can helicopter risk be managed downwards.