cost-effective. As Streat-
feild explained: “Almost all
health and safety improve-
ments are either cost-neu-
tral, or in most cases, will
reduce costs. There are very
large, immediate returns on
investments made in health
Of course embedded safe-
ty will only take the indus-
try so far. Presently, there
remains a distinct human
factor in the loop: “Once
you’ve reduced those risks
as much as possible, it’s then
that we look at how best to
ensure worker safety. It’s here
where training comes in,
alongside procedures, audit-
ing and risk assessment.”
A Standard Training Protocol
A critical element to ensuring a safe working environment is training — the aim of
which is assurance that workers are competent, well supported and safe.
Here, the wind industry has
leap-frogged its nascent status by borrowing safety standards for training from existing industries: “Effectively, the
approach of the wind industry has been to reference
other industry standards [e.g.
oil and gas, construction] as
a source material, but then
adapt this in view of the particular risks of the wind sector,” said Streatfeild.
Most companies ensure technicians complete training programs, and some countries have unifed programs for safety and
equipment training. Still, what is called for by the likes of GWO
and EU-OSHA is a consistent set of industry-wide training standards, appropriate for workers involved in projects for any company across the globe. Such a unifed landscape of standards is
not easy to achieve, but it would be immensely valuable.
“There was the realization that all wind farm owners have
similar requirements in training technicians, but there was no
mutual recognition of training between companies — this is a
problem when multiple companies are working on large projects,” said GWO’s Holst.
“For instance, if all NRG is supplying workforce for Sie-
mens wind power when installing turbines of a DONG project.
Prior to standardized training, the worker would have to attend
three almost identical courses within each of the three involved
Part of the solution from GWO is Basic Safety Training (BST)
— a safety standard covering fve modules (First Aid, Manual
Handling, Fire Awareness, Working at Heights and Sea Survival) — which ensures training from certifed providers meets a
common, high level of profciency, that is recognized across the
industry, thereby reducing the need for repeated training.
Holst explained: “With the BST, the three companies would
recognize training and worker competences, and thus save both
time and money.”
In the future, GWO has plans to roll out a standard for Basic
Drones such as this one can be used for aerial wind turbine inspection
and monitoring. Credit: Aibotix.