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Thomas Ashton Institute for Risk and Regulatory Research

Reducing Risks to Personnel during Integrity Management Interventions on Offshore Wind Energy Facilities

19 December 2019

There are opportunities to reduce the level of human intervention when undertaking integrity management activities, such as inspection, as part of the assurance processes for offshore wind turbines. Reducing direct human involvement reduces the chances of workplace accident.

People discussing wind energy

The size and location of offshore wind energy facilities introduces a high level of risk to personnel during activities such as inspection, from not only accessing the facility by boat or helicopter, but then reaching remote areas of the structure itself, such as nacelles or blade tips. The benefits in terms of improving health and safety outcomes through remote or automated processes are obvious, but any reduction in risk to workplace incidents needs to occur without a reduction in reliability of the facility. There needs to be a clear demonstration and understanding that the methods being deployed can find, identify and monitor all potential failure mechanisms with a high probability of detection, and that the reliability of the facilities using these methods can be demonstrated.

The purpose of the meeting was to bring together experts in the areas of remote inspection, reliability and health and safety to:

  1. Understand where high risks to personnel occur during IM activities on offshore wind turbines, with a perspective from industry and the HSE.
  2. Establish the current state of deployment of technologies and ongoing research in this area, which will include the capabilities of the assembled experts.
  3. Develop outline technical proposal that would generate evidence to demonstrate that the remote or automated processes provide a level of reliability that is at least that of the manual processes.

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