Wind energy is among the safest ways to generate electricity. Worker safety and health are core values of the wind energy industry. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is recognized by the American National Standards Institute as an Accredited Standards Developer.
Wind turbine construction requires some of the largest equipment in use today. Lifting components in excess of 90 tons to heights exceeding 300 feet requires strict attention to safety. Every project in the wind industry is unique and will have project-specific needs, challenges, and safety requirements.
Today’s modern cranes are highly engineered and technically advanced machines that require thoroughly trained and competent operators to ensure safe use. Please refer to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Construction Industry Regulations for specific references on operating cranes safely during the act of construction.
Working at heights is an inevitable component of wind farm construction. Any time a worker is at a height of 6 feet or more (construction industry) or 4 feet or more (general industry), the worker must be protected. Working above these elevations is a common occurrence in the wind industry. According to OSHA’s construction industry Subpart M (§1926.500) fall protection standard, workers must be protected from all fall exposures of 6 feet or greater.
Hand injuries are one of the highest frequencies of injury on wind energy construction projects. Everything we do involves our hands. This fact in itself breeds complacency. Though we may be more aware of hand placement while conducting known hazardous tasks such as operating a saw, we tend to be more reactive about hand placement during tasks that do not involve obvious hand hazards. Even the simple act of placing our hand on a surface in order to lean or support ourselves — without first checking for sharp edges, debris, or potential moving materials and equipment — can and does lead to hand injuries.
“Housekeeping” is another word for keeping the job site clean and orderly. Appropriate housekeeping significantly reduces many of the hazards associated with construction and should be a priority of all phases of construction and operation. Good housekeeping promotes safety in the work place, improves performance, protects employees and resonates professionalism at the site.
AWEA provides safety fact sheets and tips for abating injuries.
Wind power is one of the fastest-growing forms of new power generation in the United States. The good news is that wind power reduces greenhouse gas emissions by displacing fossil fuels – which also helps reduce adverse effects on public health. Moreover, the wind energy industry is committed to protecting public health and ensuring worker safety. The American Wind Energy Association publishes industry guidance and is recognized by the American National Standards Institute as an Accredited Standards Developer.