Wind Technician 101: The Risks and Essential Training
The UK is buying into wind energy in a big way. There are more than 8,600 onshore wind turbines in the country, which collectively generated around a quarter of the UK’s energy used in 2020. This number is expected to grow substantially over the next decade, despite the challenges with storage and management that are inherent in the technology.
As a consequence of this, the UK is likely to see substantial demand for new wind technicians over the years to come and investing in the skills necessary might pay dividends. After all, a wind turbine is a complex piece of machinery, and keeping them in good order is going to be an ongoing job.
The sector is growing
Education for wind technicians is monitored and regulated by the industrial body, the Global Wind Organisation, which approves courses, and demonstrates to would-be candidates that the accredited body is of the required standard.
Around 39,000 Brits are undertaking GWO courses in 2019. As the workforce expands, so too will this number. You’ll find plenty of these courses available throughout the country – but it’s worth travelling to enjoy the best of them.
The state of wind in the UK
The windiest parts of the UK are, unsurprisingly, where there’s the greatest opportunity for wind power generation. As such, Scotland makes an outsized contribution, generating 73% of all renewable energy.
According to the Office for National Statistics, electricity generated through wind power has increased more than sevenfold over the decade leading up to 2020. The UK is home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm, just off the coast of Yorkshire. Wind power is only likely to become more prevalent.
What are the risks?
Working with wind power naturally involves working at height. If adequate safety measures are not in place, then this poses a risk to workers. These safety measures might come in two forms: safety equipment and the training necessary to use that equipment effectively. One without the other is, naturally, likely to cause more harm than good.
Wind power also means having to contend with electrical hazards. Before the energy can be used, it must be transformed and transported, all of which required a complex grid. Working with the grid requires dealing with high voltages, which means getting the right training.
There’s also the possibility of musculoskeletal conditions, and injuries coming about as a result of exposure to extreme weather. This is a physically demanding job which involves working outdoors, after all.
Risks of this kind can be guarded against with the help of quality training and high-standard workwear.
High standards of training and knowledge is essential
To meet the Global Wind Organisation’s standards, training for wind engineers must include a first-aid component, instruction in manual handling, fire awareness, and working at height. Workers must also be instructed on how to handle objects while working at heights. Finally, there’s an element of sea survival training, since workers might find themselves on offshore wind turbines as well as onshore ones.