Wind Turbine and Motion-Compensated Gangway Safety Alerts

July 5, 2024
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Two safety alerts have been issued by the HSE regarding wind turbine service lifts and motion-compensated gangways.

The first safety alert was issued following an injury suffered by a technician when their hand became trapped between the fixed and moving parts of a service lift. The issue was that the design of the base and upper landing gates and associated guarding for the service lift did not prevent access to the moving lift car. The HSE sees this as the result of there not being defined industry standards for the safe design of service lifts. A new standard, ‘BS EN 81-44: Safety Rules for the Construction and Installation of Lifts—Special Lifts for the Transport of Persons and Goods, Part 44′, Lifting appliances in wind turbines’, is due to be published to provide better clarity. Currently, duty holders who operate turbines are advised to check the designs of gates, associated guarding, and the position of external controls of lifts in use. Controls should be repositioned, and guarding should be added where necessary.

Additionally, a motion-compensated gangway safety alert was issued due to several incidents involving entrapment and falls related to the gangways. Particular risks include entrapment in between moving parts, such as the fixed and telescopic sections of the walkway or handrail, as well as falls from height. The HSE says that such risks should be mitigated by operators, manufacturers, and duty holders within risk assessments. In terms of specifics, they suggest that any gangways that auto retract should provide suitable audible and visual warnings that allow users sufficient time to make themselves safe. Anyone who uses or operates a motion-compensated gangway should also have received sufficient training and instructions in its use and operation. This includes what actions to take in an emergency. An inspection and maintenance regime should be in place for gangways to ensure they are maintained, in efficient working order, and in good repair.

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