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Stay Steady on Wind Energy Work

Friday, August 28, 2015

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Safety in the fast-growing wind energy industry was at the forefront of a recent event in Illinois.

With 23,000 new jobs added in 2014, the industry is growing rapidly and attention to worker health and safety for those inspecting, repairing, maintaining and building is a high priority.

© iStock.com / Ozturk

With 23,000 new jobs added in 2014, the wind energy industry is growing rapidly and attention to worker health and safety is a high priority.

More than 30 industry professionals participated in the education event at the Suzlon training site, which boasts a fully operational wind turbine specifically for training purposes, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced Aug. 20.

The Training Event

In this three-day safety seminar held outside of Chicago, professionals from the wind industry and government agencies, such as the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Labor’s Health Response team, met up and participated in a number of drills and lectures.

In the hands-on portion of the sessions, attendees learned proper climbing techniques on the turbine, attachment and access scenarios, and rescue procedures, including those involving an incapacitated victim on the fixed ladder.

They also simulated an escape situation to practice getting out of the turbine tower, the nacelle and the top of the nacelle, as well as how to escape suspension from deployed fall arrest lanyards and other self-rescue techniques.

The classroom focus covered topics such as ladders, confined spaces, prevention of dropped objects, hoisting and rigging, vehicle safety, and weather conditions, to name a few.

© iStock.com / CreativeNature_nl

Training topics for wind turbine work include confined maintenance, prevention of dropped objects, self-rescue and fall prevention, to name a few.

According to AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan, “As we continue to scale up homegrown wind energy, working closely with OSHA and the BSEE (Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement) will be vital to maintaining the high safety standards we hold true as an industry.”

Safety You Should Know

The training stems from an alliance between OSHA and AWEA signed in August 2011 at the U.S. Department of Labor. Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses.

While the training event has passed, the AWEA website features a page dedicated to fall protection safety guidelines for work on wind farm structures. 

Topics include:

  • Personal protective equipment for work on wind turbines—harnesses, personal fall arrest systems, ladder climbing devices, etc.;
  • Wind turbine equipment inspection;
  • General industry safe work practices for climbing; and
  • Wind turbine climbing safe work practices.

Likewise, OSHA recognizes that many of the hazards on the wind energy job site are not unique, and shares information on the hazards and controls that workers in the industry should be aware of.

Subjects include:

  • Falls;
  • Confined spaces;
  • Fires;
  • Lockout/tagout;
  • Medical and first aid;
  • Crane, derrick and hoist safety;
  • Electrical;
  • Machine guarding; and
  • Respiratory protection.

   

Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Education; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Fall protection; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Latin America; North America; OSHA; Safety equipment; Wind Farm; Wind Towers; Worker training

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