31 Mar 2018
The Global Wind Organisation is a collective group of companies within the wind industry. It is made up of wind farm operators, energy companies, turbine manufacturers and other associated firms. The GWO was formed to set out and monitor the safety and training standards within the wind energy sector. Their basic safety training syllabus lays out a minimum standard for anyone wishing to work in the ever-increasing renewable wind farm industry. Wind turbine technicians with an engineering or electrical background are the obvious tradespersons that would require this training, but there are a vast number of occupations and jobs available within the renewable energy market. These include; commissioning and construction engineers, painters, electricians and fabricators, maritime staff, medics and rescue personnel, and surveyors and architects to name just a few. Whatever the vocation, the basic safety training gives a solid underpinning knowledge of the best ways to operate in wind energy-related environments safely.
The basic safety standards (BST) involve five individual elements of training.
Module 1 – First Aid
The First Aid module aims to ensure that all personnel working on a wind turbine will be able to conduct immediate first aid to themselves or their colleagues. The skills imparted through this two-day course will enable a delegate to recognise and deal with numerous medical conditions, recognise the threats, and treat different injuries in the event of trauma, conduct lifesaving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and utilise an AED or automated external defibrillator or defib.
Module 2 – Manual Handling
The Manual Handling module enforces best practice procedures for manual tasks as well as the use of equipment to limit the risk of injury. The half-day course includes practical exercises utilising equipment one may be required to lift in a workplace environment.
Module 3 – Fire Awareness
Fire Awareness is the third element of the training and is an extremely important one. Delegates will be briefed on the characteristics of a fire, the risks of a fire in a large wind turbine generator, as well as associated locations such as small vessels, stores or warehouses. Fire extinguishers will be looked at, and the extinguishing medium explained. This half day course culminates in a simulated wind turbine fire in which delegates will have to extinguish the fire.
Module 4 – Working at Height
The fourth skill set tackled is Working At Height. There are numerous methods and different types of equipment utilised throughout the wind industry just for egress and exit of the turbine towers, not to mention the transfer from crew transfer vessel in an offshore location, descent devices used for escaping in an emergency, and rescue equipment for assisting a trapped climber. Due to the complexity of these situations, this element spans two days and the majority is spent conducting practical exercises at height.
Module 5 – Sea Survival
Module five is a nominal module and is only required by someone looking to work on offshore wind farms. This means wind farms that are based at sea. This is the fastest growing and currently largest section of the wind energy market in the UK and is expanding globally. Due to the maritime environment and boat or ship-based transfers, delegates are required to undertake the Sea Survival module. This course will enable a trainee to look after themselves in the event of a marine emergency, survive in the event of abandoning a vessel, assist other persons or casualties, assist in a man overboard situation, transfer between a turbine and a vessel, operate survival equipment including life rafts and pyrotechnics, and promote the chances of rescue. The course is one and a half days, and the majority of this will be based in the water simulating different situations including vessel abandonment and helicopter recovery.
The BST standard enables a delegate to successfully set off in a wind energy career with the understanding required to work safely and effectively whether an experienced engineer or someone just starting out. The wind industry, especially offshore, is constantly increasing and expanding into new countries, so there are opportunities for jobs all over the world, offering good salaries or self-employment opportunities, normally with the added benefit of generous leave entitlement.