Occupational safety and health in the wind energy sector

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Occupational safety and health in the wind energy sector

Occupational safety and health in the wind energy sector

European Risk Observatory Report 

Wind turbine standards need to address design requirements as well as cover associated components, systems and technologies that have an impact on the reliable functioning of wind turbines. Despite the increasing amount of wind-related experience, there has been little or nothing in the way of published OSH guidelines or standards. ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 provide general guidance with regard to quality management, OSH and environmental management, but there are currently very few standards that specifically address the unique needs of the wind energy industry.

One of these existing standards is the IEC 61400 series, which gives a set of design requirements that aims to ensure that wind turbines are appropriately engineered against damage from hazards within their planned lifetime. It provides the requirements for all aspects of the design, build and operation of an offshore wind farm. This series covers topics such as: 

- IEC 61400-1: Wind turbines — Design requirements  IEC 61400-2: Wind turbines — Design requirements for small wind turbines  IE
- C 61400-3: Wind turbines — Design requirements for offshore wind turbines 
- IEC 61400-3-2: Wind turbines — Design requirements for floating offshore wind turbines 
- IEC 61400-4: Wind turbines — Design requirements for wind turbine gears 
- IEC 61400-5: Wind turbines — Design requirements for wind turbine rotor blades 
- IEC 61400-11: Wind turbines — Acoustic noise measurement techniques 
- IEC 61400-12: Wind turbines — Wind turbine power performance testing 
- IEC 61400-13: Wind turbines — Measurement of mechanical loads 
- IEC 61400-14: Wind turbines — Declaration of apparent sound power level and tonality values 
- IEC 61400-21: Wind turbines — Measurement and assessment of power quality characteristics of grid connected wind turbines 
- IEC 61400-22: Wind turbines — Conformity testing and certification 
- IEC 61400-23: Wind turbines — Full-scale structural testing of rotor blades 
- IEC 61400-24: Wind turbines — Lightning protection 
- IEC 61400-25: Wind turbines — Communication protocol 
- IEC 61400-27: Wind turbines — Electrical simulation models for wind power generation

One important legislative development in the wind energy industry is the planned update to the European wind turbine standard EN 50308 (Wind turbines — safety requirements for design, operation and maintenance). This revision is still on-going but it is expected that, for the first time, it will take proper account of offshore facilities and cover everything from turbine erection, access hatch sizes and machinery guards to emergency escape lift requirements and lighting. The need to perform risk assessments will also become more explicit. The clarification or introduction of these new turbines pecific safety measures will assist in ensuring that safety is considered from the start of the turbines’ life cycle.
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EU OSHA 2013

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