Fishermen's Energy has built a full-scale mock-up of a new type of access ladder that it hopes will increase safety and provide greater access to offshore wind turbines.
On Aug. 13, the offshore wind developer provided a hands-on demonstration of the new ladder concept to several government agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Hazard Association (OSHA) at Houma, La.-based Gulf Island Fabrication, where the mock-up was created.
According to Fishermen's, the demonstration was intended to provide a side-by-side comparison with an industry standard ladder that requires service technicians to leap across a three-foot gap to gain access to an offshore structure.
‘During our extensive risk management workshops, a significant health and safety risk was identified’ explains Stanley White, program director of Fishermen's Energy. ‘When offshore workers transfer from the work service vessel to the access ladder going in either direction, there is a chance that the workers could fall between the vessel deck and the ladder. If the vessel is surging vertically due to wave action, even a fall-arrest system will not prevent possible injury.’