Staying Safe on the Job: Fall
Protection in Renewable Energy
Demands Planning and Training
Technicians who put their lives on the line by working on
tall towers in remote locations need more than just top-
quality safety gear and information about how to use it. Tey
also need a plan for what happens if the unthinkable occurs.
MALCOLM COBB, Contributor
Several wind turbine fres have
been documented in recent
years. Some of them left frefght-
ers helpless as they watched tur-
bine components burn hundreds
of feet in the air. Among the most terrible tragedies was one
of a maintenance technician killed while working in the hub
of the turbine because he had no chance of escaping to the
ground. A rescue device could have saved him and the oper-
ator was charged for violating safety regulations.
Serious accidents like those illus-
trated above are one unfortunate
part of the huge growth of the U.S.
wind power industry, which is one
of the world’s largest. The exponen-
tial growth of the industry for over
15 years has resulted in a rise in
the number of employees. Accord-
ing to the Bureau of Labor Statis-
tics, wind turbine maintenance
technician is one of the fastest
growing professions nationwide.
Technicians working in this indus-
try usually work several hundred feet
above the ground and are exposed to
extreme hazards in remote locations.
Therefore, it is imperative that they
protect themselves against the risk of
possibly injury. The U.S. Occupation-
al Safety and Health Administration
With the ‘Milan’ rescue
device, technicians working
on wind turbines can abseil
quickly in case of emergency.
A centrifugal brake allows
for safe and secure descend.