Worker health and safety now paramount for North American Wind Farms

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Wind Energy Update. The wind industry remains one of the fastest growing forms of non-traditional electricity generation in North America and finished last year with a total of 40,180 MW of installed capacity, with a further 5,600 MW of new wind projects under construction.

But while this sustained growth in new installations continues a new challenge is rapidly taking centre stage – the health and safety of wind technicians working on site at wind farms.

Unlike in established industries where standards have been set, the rules and regulations for health and safety specific to the wind sector are far from clear.

The simple fact is that wind farms are unlike any other existing infrastructure. To date there are no industry standards set for wind technicians and any company that performs work on a wind farm is forced to design and utilize their own safety strategies based on best practice. These improvised rules and regulations have met varying degrees of success. In the worst cases large fines have been handed out to culpable parties.

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has therefore recently turned its attention to the wind industry, and is making moves to understand in what way safety standards should apply.

The question over who is directly responsible for a breach in health and safety procedure is an on-going debate – does the owner / operator take all the blame, or is it the contractor or their sub-contractor? More to the point, who takes responsibility for the financial penalty, and whose company name gets published globally as the party at fault?

In such a nascent industry, bad market credibility can have serious knock-on implications for winning future business.

In response to this critical issue, Wind Energy Update has recently launched its Health and Safety Summit USA. The event has been designed to give attendees the advantage of listening to North America’s major players as they discuss and debate their views on Health and Safety and how they have armed their companies with the knowledge needed for an accident free wind farm safety programme.

The direct focus of the event will be on building key strategies to help minimize injury, reduce costs, and ultimately optimize a wind farm’s performance. The agenda focuses on the latest updates on shifts in industry regulation, best practice safety strategies, lock-out/tag-out, confined space safety, working at height, fall protection, arc flash evaluation & prevention, staff recruitment & training, working with 3rd party contractors, and also wind turbine ergonomics and design for safety.
A select range of utilities, operators, OEMs, manufacturers, contractors, consultants and service providers are gearing up to debate and discuss these key topics at Wind Energy
Update’s Health and Safety Summit USA.

For further information regarding this event, view the website: http://www.windenergyupdate.com/health-safety-usa/

Or contact:
Jon Harman
Director
Wind Energy Update

Wind Energy Update provides news, events and analysis to the wind energy industry

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Tony Jack
Wind Energy Update
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