Emergency Prevention is best way to Safety behavior growing
Senvion, the global manufacturer of onshore and offshore wind turbines, has been present in Portugal since 2004. With approximately 570 MW installed in Portugal, it is a leading company in the country. Senvion offers customized solutions for construction, transportation, installation, service and maintenance of wind projects. Senvion has been leader in Portuguese market for new wind farms since 2014.
In Portugal, the Group Senvion – which includes Ria Blades and Ventipower – employs more than 1,200 people. Ventipower assembles wind turbines nacelles and hubs and Ria Blades produces blades and is a significant employer in the region.
For Senvion, Health and Safety is a fundamental pillar in its way of being. The Health and Safety´s culture is so internalized that the created routines happen naturally. Therefore Senvion employees, as a fundamental part of this culture, play an active role in identifying new potential hazards, as well as in suggesting actions for eliminating or minimizing the risks that these hazards can represent for the workers. There are several areas in which these hazards are listed and one of them is focused on the team dedicated to wind turbine maintenance.
Typically the maintenance teams are formed by groups of two technicians, working autonomously in the wind farms. Therefore, the employees can be exposed to high risks, either by the nature of the tasks performed, such as work at heights and work in tension, or by the wind farms’ location, specifically their access roads (mostly at a long distance from the main cities), and the isolation due to the absence or bad coverage of communications networks. Wind industry players, aware of the associated risk, have the basic practice to equip employees with tools and skills to act in case of any kind of incident such as fire, adverse weather conditions (storm, ice, thunder,…).
Senvion has standardized education with employees trained with procedures to help a colleague, either in terms of first aid or in the evacuation of a colleague with several scenarios, located inside or outside the wind turbine. The best colleague will be the one who is best prepared to proceed with the emergency procedure. Additionally, Senvion has implemented emergency drills, where all employees will have to be present at least once a year. Emergency exercises are the best way to test, to create routines and to evaluate all the scenarios identified throughout the years.
The emergency exercises are the best way to evaluate the efficiency of the emergency training as well as to identify the faults in our skills response and to test the actions that could be a solution for the identified failures. In these exercises, Senvion also involves various governmental agents responsible for local emergency response. For the whole industry, there is still room for improvement, in particular the existence for a national response plan for this industry, for example the need to define the most adequate location to evacuate the victim depending the several scenarios, the preparation of human resources capable of doing so, in the clear boundary of responsibility definition.
Aware of all these risks, Senvion’s decision was based on a first action considering internal resources, the implementation of a single emergency contact number to cover all wind farms and send a second team to help on the rescue. So everything that is within reach is done to stabilize and move the victim safely to ground level. Acting this way, it does not interfere with the specific requirements of external parties.
We cannot end without recognizing that much has evolved in recent years, mainly driven by the wind industry stakeholders, in particular, investors, manufacturers and maintenance companies that have acted separately. We believe that we can achieve such a qualitative leap, but it will be necessary for all stakeholders to jointly find a solution.
Watch one of our emergency exercises here.