Article

High job risks: Expert says safety training for wind power is crucial

The industry of building and operating wind turbines is "going big guns." That's Rocky Waller's perception as his agency and others create programs to keep workers in this emerging industry safe. ..."There are people going into this industry that have never worked around a wind farm construction site or within the turbines themselves," Waller said. "We are talking shoe salesmen, burger flippers and police officers. "They don't realize the dangers."

The industry of building and operating wind turbines is "going big guns."
That's Rocky Waller's perception as his agency and others create programs to keep workers in this emerging industry safe.

Waller, manager of training and development for the nonprofit, nongovernmental Oklahoma Safety Council, said the emergence of the wind farm industry reminds him of the oil and natural gas boom of the 1970s.

"There are people going into this industry that have never worked around a wind farm construction site or within the turbines themselves," Waller said. "We are talking shoe salesmen, burger flippers and police officers.

"They don't realize the dangers."

Waller said the Safety Council hopes to help address safety issues by offering an Occupational Safety and Health Administration-certified 30-hour safety training program for wind turbine technicians.

The program will be offered at Oklahoma City Community College but separately from a wind turbine training technician course the school is offering.

Waller said the course will be similar to one the Oklahoma Safety Council developed for the oil and natural gas industry but will be tailored to the wind... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The industry of building and operating wind turbines is "going big guns."
That's Rocky Waller's perception as his agency and others create programs to keep workers in this emerging industry safe.

Waller, manager of training and development for the nonprofit, nongovernmental Oklahoma Safety Council, said the emergence of the wind farm industry reminds him of the oil and natural gas boom of the 1970s.

"There are people going into this industry that have never worked around a wind farm construction site or within the turbines themselves," Waller said. "We are talking shoe salesmen, burger flippers and police officers.

"They don't realize the dangers."

Waller said the Safety Council hopes to help address safety issues by offering an Occupational Safety and Health Administration-certified 30-hour safety training program for wind turbine technicians.

The program will be offered at Oklahoma City Community College but separately from a wind turbine training technician course the school is offering.

Waller said the course will be similar to one the Oklahoma Safety Council developed for the oil and natural gas industry but will be tailored to the wind power industry.

"It will address specific issues that relate to the dangers and hazards of working around wind turbines," Waller said.

Fall hazards are a key issue, he noted.

Job begins at 300 feet

Turbine technicians must climb inside a turbine tower nearly 300 feet before reaching the turbine's nacelle. Once there, workers must navigate an equipment-packed workspace where there are uneven walkways and trip hazards.

If workers must service a turbine's blade assembly, Waller said they must leave the nacelle and work in open space where one slip could mean a fall of several hundred feet.

Then, of course, there are electrical shock hazards, since the turbines generate electricity, he noted.

Waller said the course will be taught by Clayton Abernathy, a safety consultant for two decades with Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., and Bill Young, who traveled the globe for General Motors as a plant start-up and training program coordinator.

David Bates, area director of the OSHA in Oklahoma City, said his agency welcomes the program's creation. It's the first course of its type in Oklahoma that he was aware of, he said.


Source: http://newsok.com/high-job-...

SEP 24 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/17207-high-job-risks-expert-says-safety-training-for-wind-power-is-crucial
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