Safety and skills body OPITO has announced a new lifting standard for the global wind sector, which it hopes will also help enhance mobility between oil and gas and renewables.
Launched on Thursday, the Lift Planning for Basic Lifting Operations in the Wind Industry Initial Training has been created following extensive consultation with turbine OEMs, offshore wind developers and safety bodies.
It has been developed to meet a globally recognised requirement to enhance competency in lifting operations in both the onshore and offshore wind supply chain, and OPITO has already helped run two pilot programmes in support of the programme.
The initial training is delivered via a 22-hour programme and will provide learners currently working, or planning to work, in the wind industry with knowledge and practical skills to plan and organise basic routine lifting operations.
OPITO says the new standard also provides “upskilling opportunities” for those working between oil and gas, wind and the wider renewables sector, enhancing workforce mobility across different parts of the energy sector.
The group’s head of energy transition, Andy Williamson, said: “Today’s launch is evidence of our long-term commitment to collaborate with the wind industry and utilise OPITO’s experience in delivering robust, industry led solutions in a timely manner without compromising on quality.
“The support from key industry stakeholders and global lifting specialists who have approached OPITO for help, has been pivotal to the development of this standard, which will allow for greater understanding of lifting operations across the wind industry and ensure high-quality training for wind turbine OEMs, project developers and those in the supply chain providing lifting operations.”
OPITO also pointed to the “pivotal” support of two partners now offering the programme.
Their two training centres – EnerMech’s in Great Yarmouth and RelyOn’s in Teesside – are approved to provide this training and OPITO said it is now working with others who wish to gain approval and offer the standard across the UK and globally.
According to the 2020 incident data report from the G+ Global Offshore Wind Health & Safety Organisation, lifting operations represented the highest number of reported incident. OPITO says this reinforces the need for a consistent approach to lift planning for the industry workforce.
Rob Stebbings, global lifting operations technical authority at Iberdrola said: “Lifting operations remain statistically one of, if not the highest work activity with recorded incidents in the offshore wind industry. Historically, offshore wind lifting plans lack the consistency and detail that is needed to enable safe, basic and routine lifting operations.”
For those reasons he said the programme was “just the tool the industry is needing” to bring understanding and industry consistency to standards.