working offshore.

I have rrms and I inject daily with Copaxone. Symptoms are quite mild and I fiction well at work. But I have recently changed jobs and I am doing the oil rig offshore survival course soon.

Is there anyone on here who works offshore or knows someone who works offshore with rrms? It is not the survival course that is worrying me, it’s the medical.

Predictive text fixed.


Hi Forrest.

I have worked offshore before (Merchant Navy) - but many years before I began to be ill. I’ve done the sea survival, but not the simulated helicopter ditch (which I would not fancy at all, with or without MS).

I hate to say it, but think you will be obliged to disclose any serious medical condition or any permament medication as a condition of your employment - whether or not symptoms would currently be detectable at a medical.

I know anti-discrimination law has come a long way since I was in the industry, back in the 80s, but I honestly can’t imagine it’s OK for people with serious undisclosed medical conditions to be working on the rigs, miles away from help in case of trouble.

I feel this kind of work MUST be an exception to the usual rule that you’re not required to say anything. I know I had a rigorous medical before being admitted - the only employment for which I’ve ever had a medical.

What would be the point of having the medical, if they’re not entitled to know about any medical issues, and you don’t have to tell? I’m sure they wouldn’t be allowed to subject you to a medical, if the law said they have no right to know. I think employers in dangerous, safety-critical environments will have the right to know if any employee has a serious health issue - and possibly to turn down employment - for the individual’s own safety, and that of others.

Sorry. I know that isn’t what you want to hear, but I think you’re going to have to be honest with them. It could be a sacking offence anyway, if you knowingly give false information about your state of health, and this later gets found out - e.g. because of having a relapse on the rig, and needing emergency evacuation. It’s not quite on a par with needing time off from a shop or office, is it? A lot more logistics involved.


Hi Forrest

I did extensive sea survival when i was on the RNLI Lifeboat & fishing , if this upsets you i do appologise my friend , i had to retire from everything when i became unwell (i didn’t know what it was back then) , it was my dream job when i was a kid superman or spiderman was not my hero , lifeboat men were , i loved it 12yrs in when everything changed it broke my heart having to retire from something so special to me yrs have gone by & i now have PTSD so in hindsight id seen enough .

It was my dream and i felt proud and could possibly of hidden it for a couple more years but and heres the but , i will never put someone else at risk for my own needs or rewards , i know some riggers its a tough job in a harsh unforgiving environment & i would be seriously worried if a prospective employer wasn’t able to make a judgment on this , and as stated above you have an obligation to be truthful and morally you should be.

Sorry if this offends you my friend but ive seen the outcome when things go wrong & if it were me i would want to be honest & legally secure all the best whatever you do

regards sheep

Thanks for the replies.

I am not planning on telling lies and I would never consider putting anyone at risk. Perhaps I should explain a little more. I am a mechanical engineer based on shore, but I want to do my bit in the office and make myself available to cover our off work, which doesn’t usually last more than a month.

I went to see my GO 20 years ago when I lost all feeling in my right leg, and didn’t get diagnosed until September last year. I had one, I think, proper relapse which which was a bout of I N O. This was when I was diagnosed.

Dear moderator,

I will try not to use my kindle fire to post here in the future, injecting Vodafone was rather embarrassing, but if there are any mistakes in the above please accept my apologies. This is a combination of a kindle, my incompetence and red wine!! Thank you for UN-blocking my post.

I’m afraid, having been out there - albeit on tankers, not rigs - I would take some convincing it’s a suitable environment for somebody with MS, and that someone who might lose their sight or ability to walk without warning isn’t some kind of liability.

Will your colleagues really see it as: “Doing your bit”, if it’s storm force 11, as it has been this week, you wake up one morning unable to function, and need airlifting off? You say you’d never consider putting anyone at risk, but isn’t that exactly what you would be doing, to the hapless folk who’d have to turn out to rescue you?

I know anyone could be taken ill offshore at any time, and such cases can’t always be helped. However, that’s not quite the same as placing someone there who’s already aware of it as a possibility.

My honest belief is you won’t be cleared to do it - not unless the medical and medical questionnaire are a complete whitewash, and if they were, how confident would you be of this company’s ethics and safety policies anyway?

I am still in touch with an old MN colleague who is now on the rigs. If you like, I could ask him what is the policy regarding chronic health conditions. I can’t guarantee he’d know, as he doesn’t have any health issues himself, that I know of. But he’s served for over 20 years, so might have a pretty good idea.

Honestly, if this a purely voluntary part of the work, and you’ve got a good, secure post on-shore, and nobody’s forcing you, I’d think very carefully about whether it’s a wise move. If the decision is made for you, because they won’t let you, at least you won’t have the impossible dilemma of whether it’s responsible to go ahead.

I appreciate you may feel your illness has taken a pretty benign course so far. However, in contrast with this is the fact you’ve been put on Copaxone, which is usually only available if you’ve had at least two clinically significant relapses in two years. So either your neuro’s turning a blind eye to the rules, OR he thinks your MS is a bit more badly behaved than you think it is.

Either way, the big problem with MS is the lack of certainty. Even if you haven’t had an episode for years, neither you nor your neuro could give a categorical assurance you wouldn’t have one during a month offshore. Is that a chance worth taking - for you or your employers? I can’t think an oil rig’s a very nice place to get stuck, if your MS suddenly decides to play dirty.


Go for it - it’s up to the authority to have suitable medical procedures and the medics will decide whether or not you can work offshore.

I don’t think we can go through life making major decisions based on what may or may not happen in the future. We have to be optimistic and take risks.

Exactly right Zetland - its for the medics and company rules to determine. If they say no you know you tried exactly what you wanted to do - why cut yourself short without trying. Go for it and good luck Forest Gump!


I will go and do the survival training then have the medical, I will answer all their questions honestly. I have known about this for a while and even discussed it with my Neuro, he doesn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t go for it.

Thanks again.

Go for it. As long as you are honest with your answers - and they, of course ask the right questions.

All the best.

Hi, well if your neuro advises you to go for it, then do and be open and honest when questions are asked at the medical. Good luck.


Hi Gorrest Fump

Just out of interest how did you go with the offshore medical. My partner has been working offshore for 10 months and while at home for 3 weeks holiday he took ill and ended up in hospital thought it was a stroke as he lost all feeling down his left hand side. After an MRI head scan it revealed lesions on the brain and the doctor has said possible MS although they are doing further tests. This happened two weeks ago he is now home and getting his mobility back slowly but defo big improvement. He has not informed his employer as yet as he has not had a proper diagnosis and he is still on holiday. Not sure how it goes with having MS and working offshore can you give any advice.

Best Regards


Hi Forrest

probably you don’t need this now. I just wanted to tell you (or anybody) that I passed my medical certificate to work offshore. I didn’t have any problem.

If you have only mild symptoms, nothing should stop you!!!

My neurologist and my GP are with me!!!