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Wind turbine workers get safety standard

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The American Society of Safety Professionals has published the first U.S. industry consensus standard written specifically for the construction and demolition of wind turbines.

In April, the American National Standards Institute approved the Safety Requirements for Safe Construction and Demolition of Wind Generation/Turbine Facilities standard, which establishes minimum requirements for protecting workers involved in the construction and demolition of a utility-scale, land-based wind turbine, ASSP said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Wind energy has unique challenges that were simply not adequately addressed in existing standards,” Christopher Daniels, chair of the subcommittee that developed the ANSI/ASSP A10.21-2018 standard, said in a statement. “The new standard brings these challenges to light and identifies appropriate means for risk mitigation.”

Among the challenges are the remoteness of the work, turbine height, limited access and turbine manufacturer variables, according to ASSP. The new standard sets requirements for site hazard identification and the equipment used, in addition to detailing steps employers must take during training to help prevent worker injuries and fatalities.

The standard calls for contractors to develop a site-specific plan that addresses the safety concerns of working in a remote location, including lack of emergency response, unreliable communication networks and environmental issues such as weather and wildlife.

Contractors must also evaluate wind turbine hazards such as unguarded moving parts and exposed electrical components. The standard contains requirements for cranes and rigging used during the construction process and identifies qualifications for crane operators, riggers and signal workers.

The U.S. wind industry installed 406 megawatts during the first quarter of 2018, bringing total U.S. installed wind power capacity to 89,379 megawatts across 41 states, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s First Quarter 2018 market report.