What are the Dangers of Becoming a Wind-farm Contractor?

07 November 2016

Wind farm contractor

“Safety is the number one priority for the companies in the global wind industry.”

The Global Wind Industry has stated that with a large growth in the use of renewable energy and the building of wind-farms, the risks involved in their construction and maintenance are important for all workers involved to be aware of. As wind-farming is a relatively new industry, some of the possible problems and dangers are still unknown to such workers.

The variety of specific jobs required to successfully build and maintain the upkeep of a wind-farm include local and specialized construction workers, skilled crane operators, electricians, as well as skilled operation and maintenance services to make sure wind turbines continue to function properly.

Different countries are now beginning to wonder how proper safety policy can be implemented.

The Uncontrollable Growth of Wind-Farming

The Uncontrollable Growth of Wind-Farming

Due to this fast expansion, it is unlikely that sufficient numbers of adequately trained wind farm contractor will be available for these jobs.

  • 2009: 192,000 European jobs were shown to lie in the wind sector.
  • 2020 (estimate): 446,000 jobs are estimated to be created in the EU.
  • 2013: The Wind Energy Technology Platform in the EU revealed a lack of 5,500 qualified workers.
  • 2030 (estimate): 18,000 unqualified workers are estimated to exist.

The Hazards Involved (Summary)

According to the UK Health and Safety Executive, who have encouraged the use of wind energy in the UK, different problems are a possibility in all areas of work on wind-farms:

“Working from height, slips and trips, contact with moving machinery, possible risks of electrocution or from fire and construction in very windy conditions. Offshore construction is even more hazardous including risks from large waves, diving activities, siting the turbines and issues such as stepping from a boat onto a turbine. Wind turbines also require regular maintenance; therefore workers will be exposed to these risks regularly.”

Their location is another reason for wind farm contractor to be extremely careful on-site.

Location Risks Faced by a Wind Farm Contractor

Wind farm contractor

Most wind-farms are constructed in remote areas, away from public housing and other facilities. In the result of a fire or an accident involving a worker, emergency services have a longer distance to travel, sometimes into an off-road location.

Wind-farms are constructed in areas which are prone to strong winds. Offshore farms are built at least 10km away from land and experience even stronger oceanic winds and currents.

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Planning to Become a Construction Worker?

A large amount of construction laborers’ work will occur before the wind turbine components arrive on the site. Access roads may need to be created and a suitable foundation must be created for each specific site. If you have not worked in wind-farm construction before, it is important that a project manager, with specialized experience is hired to make sure construction work is performed safely and accurately. You should also be aware of the specific dangers involved.

With a stronger wind there is an increased risk in the falling of objects, heavy loads and even workers. Cranes, lifting heavy objects up to increasing heights, have been known to tip over in high winds. If anyone is working below these falling objects, the results may be fatal. For example, the nacelle is an electronic gearbox that must be lifted to the top of the tower and is known to weigh up to 90 tons.

Wind farm contractor

Jenny Snook
Jenny Snook

Jenny Snook is content executive at Initiafy with the job of researching the latest health and safety trends in the heavy industry. Her past-experience includes the research of large museum collections such as the Louth County Museum, many from the industrial age.

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