Research facilitation and management for Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore industry

An Anthropometric Survey and Human Factors Study of Offshore Workers for Application to Emergency Survival Suits

Lead PI: Dr. John Kozey
Subject Category: Health, Safety and the Environment

Start Date: Jul 2002
End Date: Sept 2005
Institution / Organization: Dalhousie University

Offshore ship and rig accidents that require emergency evacuation are rare events.  However, should they occur, it is important that the workers in these emergency situations are ready and able to safely getaway from the ship or platform.  Because of the severe weather conditions and cold ocean water temperatures, one of the most important pieces of kit for the offshore worker is the survival suit.

A survival suit is a one-piece, insulated garment that can be sealed from the elements so that the worker can remain dry and relatively warm for long periods of exposure in the ocean.  Canada has been a leader in survival suit design, but as many workers can attest, these suits are cumbersome to get into and reduce mobility making it difficult to move quickly and to use your hands for hoisting, opening hatches, and securing lines or gear.

A team of experienced researchers from Dalhousie University and Survival Systems Ltd. conducted a Petroleum Research supported study to improve the design of survival suits for offshore workers.  They measured human activities essential for safe evacuation from offshore rigs and the influence of the survival suits in either restricting or enhancing a worker’s performance to safely get away.   The results from this three-year study will be used to improve the selection of suits for use by our workers offshore and to improve the design and specifications of new survival suits.


  • Kozey, J.W., T. Reilly and C. Brooks (2005) Personal protective equipment affecting functional anthropometric measurement. Occupational Ergonomics, Vol.5, Iss.2, pp.121-129.
  • Reilly, T., J. W. Kozey, and C. Brooks (2005) Structural Anthropometric Measurement of Atlantic Offshore Workers. Occupational Ergonomics, Vol.5, Iss.2, pp.111-120.

Conference proceedings

  • Dewey, S.L. and l W. Kozey (2005). The effects of a ship abandonment suit on anthropometric dimensions of offshore workers. Proceedings of the 36th Annual Association of Canadian Ergonomists [PDF]
  • Kozey, l, C. Brooks, S. Dewey and S. MacKinnon (2005) The impact of immersion suit use on lifeboat capacities. Proceedings of the 36th Annual Association of Canadian Ergonomists [PDF]

Technical Reports

  • Kozey, J.W. and C.J. Brooks (2006), A Report to Transport Canada on Human Anthropometry and Marine Abandonment Suit Sizing. Contract No: T8275-5-3192. [PDF]

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