On a client site in Northern Ireland, a Coyle Group safety officer recently identified that the blade fingers of a wind turbine posed a serious health and safety problem and worked with our client to prevent an incident occurring.
A safety site visit was planned to coincide with a trial run on Evishagaran Wind Farm. It became apparent to our safety officer that more than half of the blade fingers (storage areas) would have issues with safe access and egress. This issue was echoed by the transport supervisor; it would also create issues in offloading, and installation.
From the thirteen turbine locations on site, eight have been identified as requiring remedial action. The blade fingers range from 2.5m below the level of the hardstand (a tested area capable of receiving cranes and transport) to 2.5m above. The first thought was to use machinery to shape the ground and solve the issue, but this was not possible.
After discussion with the site team, the most effective solution was proposed by the Coyle Group safety officer, namely, to use scaffold access. A local scaffolding company was brought in to survey the requirements and build a bespoke solution for each location.
This is not a standard procedure, so a great deal of coordination has been required to mitigate the new risks that the scaffold poses.
After a risk assessment and inclusion of the issue on daily meetings and toolbox talks, the solution has been proven to work well.
“This is an example of one of our people on the ground thinking outside the box.” Thomas Cooper, Coyle Group Wind Operations Manager said. “The solution suggested provided a cost-effective solution to enable the job to proceed safely.”
As a result of this intervention Evishagaran Wind Farm is now a much safer place to work.