Wind farm safety tops agenda at planned ESTA and FEM experts summit in Hamburg

Reducing accidents and improving safety during the erection and transportation of on-shore wind turbines will be the focus of the third edition of the popular ESTA and FEM Experts Summit in Hamburg on March 6.

The one day conference and reception, will feature leading industry speakers from across the sector and will follow up the work started at the 2017 event, especially on the development of new safety policies and best practice guides.

The conference will also include “bonus” sessions on the safety implications of the new European Crane Operators Licence and developing a meaningful safety culture. 

The conference has the support of the leading wind turbine manufacturers through VDMA Power Systems, part of the leading German engineering and manufacturing trade association. 

Concern about safety standards on site has long been worrying ESTA’s members and the leading crane manufacturers – members of the Cranes and Lifting Equipment Product Group of FEM (the European Materials Handling Federation).

Key subjects include the increasing size of wind turbines, bad ground conditions and inadequate project planning – coupled with poor communication along the supply chain. 

ESTA Director Ton Klijn said: “This is an important issue now because the height of the turbines is increasing and with the cranes we have now, we are using them to their limit.

“As the tower heights increase further, we see even bigger cranes having to be used, which in turn affects the requirements for the hard stands, which have to withstand higher ground pressures and increase in size.

“In addition, the access roads also have to be stronger.

“The greater heights mean there is more wind pressure on the boom and the load. This means the time window in which the lift can safely be carried out is further reduced.  And that has both safety and cost implications.

“There needs to be much better communication between the developers, the contractors, the turbine manufacturers and the crane and transport companies, including the crane and trailer manufacturers.”

He added: “We would encourage all of our members and affiliates to support this important event.

“We have kept delegate and sponsorship prices as low as possible as we are not looking to make a profit, but just to break even and publicise what is an important and increasingly serious issue.”

David Collett, ESTA President and Managing Director of the Collett Group, is one of the driving forces behind proposals for an industry-wide best practice guide.

He said: “As an industry, we are challenged to deliver a safe solution, and we have to comply with all the relevant health and safety regulations, but the problem is that the site might have been designed dangerously in the first place, before the crane or transport company became involved.

“Quite simply, the quality of the pre-planning and the quality of communication between all the stakeholders is the key issue – that is what we have to improve, and that is why we are so keen to develop better relationships with the developers and turbine manufacturers and their contractors.”

ESTA and FEM Experts Summit

Delivering safety and best practice in on-shore wind farm construction

Plus bonus sessions on:

– building a practical safety culture 

– safety and the new European Crane Operators Licence

For further information please contact the ESTA main office.