Wind Turbine Installation and Safety
A day in the life of a Health and Safety Consultant …
One overcast day somewhere in the hills of Wales, a band of men and women had the arduous task of erecting a Wind Turbine. So, dressed in the obligatory PPE and with a selection of heavy plant; they set to this military style operation. From an engineering point of view this was a particularly interesting project, from a health and safety viewpoint potentially high risk which was recognised by all those involved, but as the saying goes where there’s a will there’s a way.
So to the task in hand, the day started with the delivery and the first part of this huge installation, securing to the ground the metal plates to keep the structure in place. The large concrete slab had previously been installed with bolts cast in as anchors. At this point can you think of the safety implications? You have probably thought of dangers from the equipment, both heavy plant and the turbine itself, say someone accidentally getting injured by being knocked down by lifting gear, it does happen on high risk construction sites, but not here due to planning and subsequent control of the site. Maybe you thought of the stress of the situation on the people involved. Yes this is true these situations can be stressful but using competent employees to undertake these projects really helps with this, not to mention the cost involved if something goes wrong, can you imagine!
The second part of the project, manoeuvring the large tubular tower into place, cherry pickers used, but the column also needs to be guided into place manually by people on the ground with ropes, again safety implications follow, the wind could easily cause damage and injury staff. Slowly does it!
Penultimate rotor mechanism in place to enable this extraordinary structure to work, again a lot of manual input and not achieved first time, second time lucky. Finally, those huge blades are in place, everyone is getting tired and fatigued; it’s been a long day! Another safety issue, plenty of breaks and plenty of food and hot drinks!!
This wind turbine installation, in fact all wind turbine installations are important to all people receiving electricity for reasonable prices, a worthy cause you might be persuaded to think or say.
Hopefully the pictures tell the whole story, as the saying goes a picture says a thousand words ...