Safety and Health Institution Visits Gwynt Y Môr

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) was invited by RWE to look around the giant Gwynt Y Môr site.

The wind farm is nearing completion and has an excellent health and safety record throughout the construction period.

Despite the many risks associated with the activities undertaken on this type of offshore project, there have been no serious incidents or injuries.

Simon Hatson, of IOSH’s offshore group committee, and North Wales branch chair Lawrence Bamber visited the site on Tuesday 25 November.

They were given a presentation of how the wind farm was constructed and how the 9,000 workers involved are being kept safe before heading out to sea on a crew transfer vessel to see the site with their own eyes.

Simon said: “This site has a fantastic safety record, which is great to hear. This should be used as an example for other projects in the future.”

Gwynt Y Môr is located eight miles off the coast, in Liverpool Bay. The site covers an area of 80km². It has 160 turbines, making it the second largest wind farm in the world behind the 175-turbine London Array site in the Thames Estuary.

Offshore construction work on the Gwynt Y Môr site began in January 2012. But RWE had laid the groundwork in keeping workers from the near 100 contractors safe long before that.

During offshore construction, there were 36 incidents which required intervention or assistance from one of the dedicated Emergency Response Teams, other than those which needed just minor first aid, nearly all of which were health related.

But RWE was well prepared for any eventuality, organising an emergency exercise, called Exercise Argo, which involved multi-agency emergency services, before work began. Scenarios included rescuing a worker who had fallen overboard and a person exhibiting typical symptoms of a heart attack.

During the construction period, the project amassed nearly nine million man hours, including over four million man hours offshore without a lost time incident. During the height of the construction period, 64 vessels were out in the field at one time – more than in many busy shipping lanes. More than one million tonnes of heavy equipment was lifted. Meanwhile 3,000 dives were performed, without incident. The IOSH members were impressed to hear how these risks have been managed.

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Press release; Image: iosh