Offshore wind safety sees mixed results amid record activity in 2023

By: Chloe Emanuel

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13/06/2024 Energy Institute

Offshore wind activity reached new heights in 2023, with G+ Global Offshore Wind Health and Safety Organisation members reporting a record 61.9 million hours worked, a significant 39% increase from 2022. However, the surge in operational hours coincided with a sharp rise in reported incidents, highlighting ongoing challenges in the industry’s safety performance.

According to the 2023 Incident Data report released by G+, total reported incidents nearly doubled to 1,679, marking a 94% increase from the previous year. Despite the increase, key safety metrics such as the Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR) and Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF) remained steady, attributed to the substantial rise in operational hours.

A notable positive development was the reduction in high potential incidents, which more than halved to just 11% of the total incidents. However, the year was marred by a fatality during an onshore turbine assembly, underscoring the continued need for vigilance and improvement in safety practices.

David Griffiths, G+ Chair and Head of Health and Safety at SSE Renewables, emphasized the importance of collaboration for future safety improvements. “Ensuring our industry continues to build upon the progress made over the past decade requires a sector-wide effort,” Griffiths stated. He acknowledged the concerning rise in total incidents but highlighted a positive shift in reporting culture and increased engagement with frontline workers to mitigate on-site hazards.

Energy Institute Chief Executive Dr. Nick Wayth also stressed the necessity of ongoing efforts to manage health and safety risks as the offshore wind industry expands. “As the offshore wind industry continues to ramp up and play an increasing role in our energy mix, the work of G+ has never been so crucial,” Dr. Wayth commented.

The report detailed that the majority of incidents occurred on construction sites (1,049), followed by operational sites (560), and development sites (67). The incidents included 1 fatality, 65 lost workday injuries, 70 medical treatment injuries, 33 restricted workday injuries, and 31 cases requiring emergency response and medical evacuation.

The primary areas of concern were lifting operations, vessel operations, and routine maintenance, which collectively accounted for nearly 500 incidents. G+ is actively working with the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) to address these high-risk areas and reduce incident rates.

Looking forward, G+ aims to enhance safety through initiatives like the G+ Technician Innovation Challenge and by sharing lessons learned from European operations with emerging markets in Asia Pacific and North America. Additionally, G+ continues to provide safety incident lessons via the Energy Institute’s Toolbox platform to promote best practices industry-wide.

As offshore wind operations expand globally, the commitment to improving health and safety standards remains paramount to protecting workers and advancing the industry.

For more information about offshore wind farm projects across the globe, click here.

About the Author

4C Offshore | Chloe Emanuel
Chloe Emanuel

Press Coordinator

01502 307037