ESTA’s much-anticipated best practice guide for the transport and installation of onshore wind turbines has been published.

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ESTA best practice guide on wind turbine installation and transport

For a limited period the Best Practice Guide for Transport and Installation of Onshore WTG Systems is available free of charge. The 52-page document, from Europe’s Association of abnormal road transport and mobile cranes (ESTA), is the result of more than three years of work and aims to help reduce the high number of accidents.

David Collett, ESTA president, said, “Quite simply, there have been too many accidents and incidents in the onshore wind market. As an association, we spoke to our members to give us an overview of what was happening, and the trends were alarming.” Collett said there are common threads in many of the accidents – cranes collapsing due to poor weather or ground conditions; vehicles turning over and related transport problems due to poor quality access roads or badly planned site infrastructure.

“The main thrust of all of our work is to enhance safety and to improve efficiency. Safety and efficiency are inextricably linked – they are two sides of the same coin. In short, if a job is run efficiently, properly planned and well executed, then it will be safer.”

The BPG discussions were led by ESTA with the support of VDMA Power Systems, the part of the German engineering federation whose members include the major turbine manufacturers, and the crane manufacturers through FEM, the European Materials Handling Federation. Detailed work on the guide has been underway for more than three years. It included a series of summits in Hamburg, Germany. The BPG is backed up by other technical guidance documents, for example, the FEM 5.016 Guideline – Safety Issues in Wind Turbine Installation and Transportation (EN – 2017).

Now the BPG has been published, ESTA said it aimed to spread the word as widely as possible.

Collett continued, “The next step is for us to talk to the developers, utilities, clients – and their contractors and consultants – and to persuade them it is in their interests to ensure their projects adopt best practice, as we have set out. We want this best practice guide to be adopted as a standard industry document, as one of the standard library documents for a project.

“This is not – I stress – an additional piece of bureaucracy. It is borne out of necessity. It must not gather dust on people’s bookshelves. It is essential because of the incidents that have occurred.”

He argued that good safety has to be factored into the pricing of a product and a project from the beginning – an issue that is becoming increasingly urgent with the increasing size of wind turbines. “The challenge for us will be to ensure that safety issues are properly taken into account among a project’s senior management and sales teams. They are understandably focused on pricing, selling their products and developing their projects. But safety has to be priced in all the way through the process, not just at the project execution stage.”

Collett explained, “In essence, we are trying to highlight the risks and negative impact of poor planning. One of the features of the document and our work is to stress the importance of early engagement of all of the firms working on a project, and especially the transport and lifting companies. These guidelines are not just essential from a moral safety viewpoint – although that should be enough reason to act. But our recommendations make sound business sense too. They will ensure that projects are more efficient and are more likely to be delivered on time and budget without the avoidable delays caused by accidents and near misses.

“As the old saying goes – if you think good safety is expensive, try having an accident.”

To download a copy of the Best Practice Guide for Transport and Installation of Onshore WTG Systems, see: www.estaeurope.eu

 

 

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