Urgent action is needed to ensure that safety in the UK’s renewable energy and carbon capture sectors keeps pace in order to avert a major safety incident, according to a new survey.
Some 63% of managers in the oil, gas and renewables sectors who responded to the poll said they were concerned about a major incident occurring in the next five years at their company.
The survey was commissioned by Draeger Marine and Offshore and carried out in February and March 2021 by Insight Avenue, an independent research consultancy based in Windsor.
It was conducted via an online survey of 1,033 people, comprising 751 employees and 282 line managers in UK businesses with 50 or more staff members.
The research assessed the impact of Covid-19, Brexit and workplace culture on health and safety in UK workplaces and warns of growing concerns regarding safety within the UK’s rapidly expanding renewables sector.
Most respondents said safety had already been adversely impacted by Covid-19, with 66% of managers reporting that safety training or investment within their organisation had been cancelled or delayed due to the pandemic.
Draeger Marine and Offshore warned that while renewable energy and carbon capture are often perceived as being green, clean and safe, the risks are frequently overlooked, and are often not dissimilar to those seen in the oil and gas industry.
The company called for industry and government to take swift action to raise safety standards.
Richard Ryan, of Draeger Marine and Offshore, said: “The slow pace of progress regarding safety standards in the UK’s renewable energy and carbon capture sector is becoming a major cause for concern, and it has been made worse by significant Covid-19 delays to safety training and safety-critical maintenance work.
“Whilst there are many positive aspects to the rapid growth being seen in the UK’s renewables sector, the unprecedented pace of developments presents a real risk to safety as regulations struggle to keep up.
“A key part of the problem is that there is a real lack of understanding or appreciation of the full extent of the hazards involved in renewable energy and carbon capture and storage.
“Whereas safety in the oil and gas sectors is now mature and ingrained in the whole operating culture, this is not translating across to renewable operations in all areas of the industry.
“It is vital amidst the current rapid growth of the UK’s renewable energy sector, that safety regulations keep up with the broader pace of developments within the sector.”