HSE concerned about safety in renewable energy industry
In 2020, 43% of electricity generated in the UK was from renewable energy. There are a large number of start-up businesses formed recently in the sector, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is concerned about the lack of experience in these new companies, which has caused a health and safety risk.
Trevor Johnson, the HSE Principal Inspector, has written a letter addressed to trade bodies that represent the wind energy industries, in which he asks for the industry to improve its health and safety strategies. He writes:
“In some sectors of the wind energy industry, improvements in health and safety performance has at best stalled if not reversed. In 2020, there have been a number of serious incidents both in the UK and elsewhere which could indicate that any reversal may continue.”
Johnson said that new entrants in the renewable energy sector need more training and information on how to work safer.
Sarah Newton, HSE chair, wants the HSE to collaborate more with regulators and experts in the renewable energy industry to take a more proactive approach to health and safety.
There are several manufacturers that supply specialist safety equipment for wind farms, including harnesses, life jackets and dry suits. PPE (personal protective equipment) and protective workwear alone are not enough to protect workers. All workers need specialised safety training and detailed information on safety risks.
Renewable energy firms are regulated by the Health and Safety at Work ACT. The HSE wants additional regulations for the renewable energy industry.