The closely related issues of safety and training will dominate discussions at next week’s ESTA biannual meetings in Stockholm, Sweden.
On the agenda for the European Association of Abnormal Road Transport and Mobile Cranes are the growing concerns about the safe transportation and erection of onshore wind turbines.
Writing in ESTA’s Annual Review – to be published at next week’s meeting – Søren Jansen, ESTA director, said, “Our industry is facing a lot of challenges in this sector due to the increase of hub heights and the size and weight of the turbines.
“The hub heights in Europe often exceed 160 metres, the crane boom lengths used are exceeding 170 m, and such extremely long booms are being used frequently in high wind conditions.”
Jansen added, “What is more, turbine manufacturers are now talking about hub heights up to 200 m or even more.”
From a transport perspective, ESTA is stepping up calls for the turbine manufacturers to develop common standards on ground conditions, access roads and their transport requirements – something the specialized haulage contractors believe will reduce incidents and boost safety.
In his report, Jansen adds that the industry needs to focus more on human behaviour as the cause of many accidents, rather than equipment failure.
“Looking back, one theme clearly stands out. The cranes themselves did not fail. By and large, they were not the cause of the accidents… as the accident investigators dig deeper into an incident, almost invariably it becomes clear that the root cause was to be found in human behaviour.”
ESTA’s meetings will also be discussing the latest developments in plans for a European Crane Operator Licence, the Crane Capacity Index and the latest ICSA safety documents.
* ESTA and the FEM European federation of material handling equipment manufacturers are organising an “Experts Summit” in Hamburg, Germany, on 23 February 2017. It will be titled, “New challenges in onshore wind farm construction – safety, productivity and the supply chain.” Further information will be available at www.estaeurope.eu