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Onshore wind farms report over 500 safety incidents

16 August 2021

SAFETYON, THE health and safety body for the onshore wind industry, based at the Energy Institute, has published its inaugural Annual Incident Data Report based on data collated and analysed over 2020.

Benchmarking the health and safety performance of the UK onshore wind industry for the first time, the report provides transparency on the industry’s performance, as well as a solid platform for the development of SafetyOn’s work programme and good practice guidance.

The 2020 incident data shows that of the 6,971,142 worked hours reported last year, 532 incidents were reported. Of these incidents, which include “near misses”, 455 (86%) took place on an operational onshore wind farm, with 62 (12%) on a wind farm under construction, 13 (2%) on a site under development and 2 (0.4%) while working from home. There were no fatalities.

Lindsay McQuade, chair of SafetyOn and CEO of ScottishPower Renewables commented, “With onshore wind capacity ready to play its part in combating the climate emergency and delivering green energy to support the race to net zero, the health and safety of those employed in the industry is the focus of SafetyOn.

“The publication of this first ever industry incident data report helps not only to enhance transparency across the industry, but will serve to underpin SafetyOn’s risk-based work programme.

“With thousands working in the UK’s onshore wind industry, SafetyOn is playing its part in making sure they go home safe.”

Nick Wayth CEng FEI, chief executive of the Energy Institute commented, “Although COVID-19 brought unprecedented challenges for the onshore wind industry, the publication of this first Incident Data Report underlines SafetyOn’s focus on maintaining industry safety.

“Of course the ultimate goal has to be zero incidents in onshore wind, which is precisely the point of the SafetyOn collaboration, and I’m pleased the EI is able to play a central part in this.”

Supported by the Energy Institute, SafetyOn brings together 58 member organisations and other industry stakeholders to mitigate key emerging risks through cooperation and shared learning. Membership comprises developers, operators, manufacturers and the wider supply chain, including engineering and transportation.

In partnership with RenewableUK, SafetyOn has published guidance regarding site operations, construction and returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic, to support safe operations.

Established in 2019, SafetyOn’s objective is to provide leadership, support and direction to improve health and safety standards across the onshore wind industry through four main workstreams: incident data reporting, good practice guidelines, safe by design and learning from shared incidents.