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As any weekend do-it-yourselfer will attest, the key to a successful project begins with having the proper tools. The same rationale can also be applied to wind farm construction and operations and maintenance.

Given the rigors of wind farm maintenance – technicians are required to work in enclosed spaces at heights exceeding 200 feet, often in remote locations – disorganization and haste can lead to catastrophe. In a perfect world, human error would be eliminated, and crunched-for-time field technicians would resist cutting corners or creating ad-hoc work-arounds. Tools would not be left behind or, worse, inadvertently fall to the ground from the nacelle. However, calamities involving tools are not only possible, but also probable.

And now the stakes are even higher, as federal agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), are increasing their oversight on U.S. wind farms. In fact, the OSHA has recently identified incidents of “dropped tools” among its list of top safety concerns.

“We know these things happen,” explains John Tremblay, manager for power generation at Snap-on Industrial. “But how can we prevent recurring instances or occurrences going forward?”

Tremblay says organizations can enhance their safety and productivity culture by incorporating some fundamental behaviors.

“It starts with carefully identifying the most appropriate tool for each job,” he explains. “There is often more than one tool that appears satisfactory.”

Nonetheless, from a safety, ergonomic and productivity perspective, “there is usually an ideal tool.”

He notes that “lean” tool kits, which carry only the necessary equipment, eliminate lugging extra weight and tools. Further, lean kits lessen the likelihood of using an incorrect tool, explains Tremblay.

Additionally, he says, incorporating accountability into kits can help keep tools from being left behind.


“Tool silhouettes allow inventory to be performed in a matter of seconds,” he says, noting that this can save a trip back to retrieve a forgotten tool. If left inside a nacelle, a wayward tool can cause significant turbine damage.

When implementing a drop prevention program, it is important to consider the functionality of each tool, he cautions. “Be sure that the solution doesn’t compromise a tool’s safe and productive use.”

With efficiency (and safety) in mind, NAW reached out to several tool and construction service providers to obtain similar tips and techniques for using tools safely and efficiently. Below are their responses:


Marketplace: Tools

Tool Tips From The Field: What The Techs Have Learned

By Mark Del Franco

Suppliers and service providers dispense practical, common-sense tips for handling tools safely and efficiently.





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