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NWA Hosts Offshore Wind Safety Forum

Posted: 11/10/2017

The National Workboat Association (NWA) hosted it’s first-ever wind safety forum at the start of September, during which a number of safety topics specific to the offshore wind industry were discussed.

One of the first areas to be tackled was the risk assessment methodology for crew transfer vessel (CTV) technician transfers, which is currently under development by a working group established by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA).

Members of the IMCA working group are looking at the ‘step to work’ interface, which is one of the riskiest areas of crew transfer operations.

Discussions also covered working hours and the minimum rest time for those working in the offshore wind sector. The consensus was that employees should have a minimum of ten hours off in every 24-hour period, and at least 77 hours of rest in a week.

Attendees stressed that this should be viewed by the industry as an absolute minimum in terms of rest periods, and not be used to define standard working hours.

Those present at this inaugural meeting also discussed best practice guidelines, with the feedback largely positive, although it was noted that there needs to be better communication of new guidance published after some attendees revealed they were unaware of the updated G+ Small Service Vessel Guide.

Ahead of the event, Secretary at the NWA Mark Ranson told Windpower Engineering & Development that the aim of the forum is to encourage “greater dialogue and alignment” between owners of sites in the offshore wind sector and CTV operators.

He added that the event is “designed to provide a unifying platform for industry debate on crucial safety issues, particularly the step to work interface, which need to be discussed openly and taken forward in a collaborative and expedient manner”.

Given that the first meeting was such a success, it has been recommended that a similar event be held every six months, giving everyone the opportunity to come and discuss safety issues pertinent to the offshore wind sector.

While discussion forums like the one organised by the NWA are great for the industry as a whole, it is still the responsibility of individual wind farm operators and employees to ensure they keep their GWO accredited certificates and training updated such as the GWO working at heights course.

It’s also vital to regularly review your emergency response plans in the event that an incident does occur.

Wind farms develop and change, and given that more and more such energy-generating turbines are being set up in remote locations, it’s more important than ever to have robust emergency response plans in place and to keep your workforce safe for effective incident response and management.

We recently offered some advice on the kinds of things you need to look at when you’re reviewing your response plans, as well as the factors you should consider when updating them.

If you’re unsure of what needs to be done, working with experts in the sector is the best way to ensure that there aren’t any gaps in your emergency response processes.

At HFR Solutions CIC, we hold vast expertise and experience in the delivery and provision of emergency response planning and incident management, if we can support your organisation, please contact us today.