Wind industry professionals were joined by government agency experts at Suzlon's Elgin, Ill.-based training facility for a battery of drills designed to promote safety.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), safety professionals from the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement were trained to climb a turbine and perform self-rescue through rescue scenarios and in the classroom.
Classroom education covered the basics of wind turbine generation and operation, general safety programs, electrical safety, ladders, confined spaces, the prevention of dropped objects, training and workforce, hoisting and rigging, vehicle safety, hand injuries, emergency response, and weather conditions.
‘Everyone went through a rigorous six-station course to practice all essential elements of a successful rescue operation and evacuation,’ says Michele Myers Mihelic, director of worker health and safety policy standards development at AWEA. ‘They learned how to adjust their harness from a standing and suspended position, to escape from inside a turbine tower, nacelle and the top of a nacelle, to deploy a fall arrest lanyard and rigging, and to rescue incapacitated victims on a fixed ladder.’
The training stems from an alliance between OSHA and AWEA signed in August 2011 at the U.S. Department of Labor. Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses.
Suzlon's facility is the only facility in the Americas to offer a fully operational wind turbine dedicated exclusively to training purposes.