HOW TO MAKE YOUR WINDFARM SAFER

We were delighted to host a workshop at the IWFA annual conference this week about Safety for Windfarm Owners. We have written this blog to capture some of the key tips shared at the event by Ronan O’Meara.

There are a lot of practical things that Windfarm owners can do to make their organisations more safe both from a formal (regulatory) and informal perspective.

Statutory Requirements

Core to the statutory requirements is that each windfarm is set up to create a safe system of work for all employees. A safe system does not need to be complex. In fact, the UK recently issued contravention notices on windfarm owners who gave in plans that were pages upon pages of waffle rather than a clear and simple system.

What do you need?

  • Health and Safety Statement
  • Health and Safety Plan
  • Forms and templates to help implement the plan

From our experience, windfarm owners are clear about these requirements but our recommendation is to regularly review these processes with fresh eyes. Ideally you want them to be a dynamic system of safety that all employees engage with rather than a set of documents that are filed away somewhere onsite and not really referenced in a meaningful way.

Emergency Preparedness

There is a big focus at the moment on Emergency preparedness. The HSE in the UK are looking for full end-to-end plans that have been reviewed, tested and timed. Some of the things you might consider thinking about to support your plans for emergencies could be

  • Site Directional Signage
  • Advanced Rescue Training (Hub Rescue)
  • Spinal board location (e.g. in vans rather than a substation on large sites)

Culture of Safety

While we are duty bound to provide and talk about safety, fundamentally all wind farm owners want their windfarm workers to go home safely to their families each evening. We can create a culture that has safety embedded at its heart. Some of the ways that you can consider doing this

  • 5 Whys – encourage employees to regularly ask themselves 5 times the question “why” when they come across any type of incident
  • Encourage managers and employees to create a habit of asking the question “How and what is the safest way to complete this task”

Practical Advice

There are simple things that happen on site such as dropped objects and accidents while driving on the windfarms. Here are our top tips for increasing safety in relation to these:

Dropped Objects

  • Inspect the lifting hooks regularly
  • Don’t overload the hook
  • Use only certified lifting bags

Driving on the Windfarms

  • Ensure clear signage and snow poles on site
  • Implement edge protection for hard stands and corners
  • Factor driving policies when awarding contracts

In summary

There are a couple of areas you can focus on to create a safer wind farm for your employees

  • Engage staff with Healthy & Safety plans to ensure that they are a dynamic and daily part of the working at your windfarm
  • Review and test your Emergency Preparedness plan
  • Ask yourself how you will create a CULTURE of safety in your windfarm
  • Review incidents of dropped objects on your wind farm
  • Take a fresh look at your driving policies on site