Falls, fire hazards, confined spaces, medical and first aid, machine guarding, lock/out electrical hazards, arc flash, and respiratory protection are just some of the many dangers that wind turbine workers face. To ensure maximum safety of wind turbine workers and to meet OSHA legislation, employers need to endeavor to exercise several essential wind turbine safety precautions and controls. Here are some safety tips for wind turbine workers.
First Aid personnel should always be on-site
At least one person qualified to administer first aid should be on-site whenever work on wind turbines is carried out. On construction sites, at least two people qualified and trained to administer first aid must be on-site when the installation, maintenance, or servicing of wind turbines is being conducted. It is also imperative that all workers performing any maintenance work must be trained in first aid.
Ongoing risk management and assessments
Effective risk management is vital to ensuring wind turbine safety. Site managers and contractors should ensure that all wind turbine workers are correctly informed, educated, and knowledgeable about the risks and hazards that can occur during their duties, especially concerning electrical hazards and the risks of working with certain tools and materials.
Contractors and site managers should also endeavor to conduct ongoing task-specific risk assessments to uncover any hazards specific to their windfarm and implement appropriate control measures. Supervision is vital in monitoring operations and identifying areas for improvement and compliance.
Provision of personal protective equipment
The provision of comprehensive personal protective equipment (PPE) is another crucial element of maintaining wind turbine health and safety. Any wind turbine worker exposed to a potential fall should be supported by a certified personal fall arrest system (PFAS), such as a full-body safety harness. PPE in the form of climbing helmets, safety glasses, head torches, arrest lanyards, positioning lanyards, overalls, safety vests, and safety footwear should also be provided to wind turbine workers.
Tool and equipment testing
A qualified expert should be contracted to test all personal protective, safety, and rescue equipment, including fall arrest protection systems, ladders, elevators, electric hoists, pulleys, and cranes. A certified expert should also inspect all of the electrical tools used in the maintenance or servicing of wind turbines.
Active weather monitoring
Severe weather conditions pose one of the most alarming threats to wind energy workers’ safety, especially as wind turbines are vulnerable to lightning strikes. Where technicians perform work on wind turbines during storms, strong winds, ice or snow, or bouts of lightning, the propensity for fires, falls, electrocution, and other potential accidents and injuries to occur significantly heightens.
Site managers should monitor weather forecasts and track wind, storm, lightning, and freezing reports. A proactive safety precaution can be to subscribe to mobile alerts regarding specific parameters set by the forecaster to reflect how weather conditions may affect the wind turbine’s location on your site.
By exercising these five key safety precautions, wind farm owners can make a conscious effort to protect the safety of wind turbine workers. ANEMOI offers comprehensive wind turbine services, from gearbox oil changes to scheduled maintenance and other services. For more information, contact us today.