Risk Awareness Key for Efficient Emergency Response in the Wind Industry

With over 100 wind farm projects under construction, the need for efficient health and safety strategies in the US wind industry has never been greater.

Brent Wise, the COO of Tech Safety Lines explains how to identify the risks at an early stage and facilitate the work of the rescue teams.

Disconnect between companies’ expectations from emergency responders and the reality can result in increased cost and reaction time. According to Mr Wise who is also the Captain of the Dallas Fire Department there is a strong positive correlation between clients’ early stage planning and the efficient work of the rescuers.
Mr Wise, who was among the speakers of Wind Energy Update’s first Health and Safety Webinar last week, noted that companies can dramatically improve their rescue procedures if they include additional elements into their health and safety guidelines at an early stage.

By example, this can be the establishment of a clear process for access to a victim and the subsequent method in which he/she is lowered to the ground. Calling 911 is not an option when it comes to wind projects as emergency response rescue, despite its sudden occurrence, requires a solid plan of action to already be in place.

In general, emergency response depends on two main factors:

  •     Response time (the location of the wind farm has a critical impact on the response time as in some cases it could take hours before the rescue team is able to access it)
  •     Rescue crew capabilities (at the moment of the accident the available team may not be as well trained as the situation requires. Also the available equipment may not be sufficient for the specific complexity of the current circumstances)

According to Mr Wise, to accomplish efficient rescue operations, companies need coordination and strong relationships between local emergency response teams and employee based training procedures.
For a more in depth review of exactly what Mr Wise recommends for how to build a positive correlation between clients’ early stage planning and the efficient work of the rescuers, you can listen to his discussion at the following address: http://www.windenergyupdate.com/health-safety-usa/content3.php
The two other expert speakers who took part in the webinar, Clint Ramberg from Spider and Stephen Wilkinson from Romax Technology discussed how to reduce the cost of O&M through innovative suspended access platforms and how to increase the profitability of the Wind Turbine Generators (WTG) through safety & quality initiatives. The slides and recording of the webinar are now available online and can be found here.