The man in charge of Newfoundland and Labrador's inquiry into offshore helicopter safety is seeking written submissions from the public.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board will begin public hearings on Oct. 19, but inquiry commissioner Robert Wells, a former judge, said Tuesday he also wants to hear from people in writing.

"I know there are many people within this province, as well as people outside the province, who have a keen interest in and a concern for the safety of our offshore workers as they travel to and from the offshore installations. I look forward to receiving their input," Wells said in a release.

The inquiry was ordered after 17 people died on March 12, when a Cougar helicopter crashed into the North Atlantic as it was transporting offshore workers to oil platforms.

The petroleum board appointed Wells to look into the issue of worker safety and make recommendations on how to make helicopter travel to offshore platforms as safe as possible.

The board regulates Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore oil industry.

Wells said he is giving people until Nov. 30 to put their views into writing.

"The observations and ideas that come from the general public," he said, "will be taken into consideration along with all the other information gathered during the inquiry when we prepare our findings and recommendations."

The inquiry granted standing at the public hearings to 15 people and organizations last month.

It won't be examining technical issues already under review at the Transportation Safety Board, which has said its investigation is focusing on a mounting stud that came loose during the flight.