The wind turbine industry comes with its fair share of advantages and disadvantages, but nothing is more fulfilling than its workers’ experience in the field.
From weather problems to working around high voltages, a wind turbine worker has to navigate certain risks. Whether you’re looking to join the industry as a professional or you’re planning to run a business that involves working on wind turbines, here are a few safety precautions you need to take note of:
1. You might be struck by lightning
When taking a job as a wind turbine worker, people worry that they might be struck by lightning. Sadly, this fear is definitely justified. Wind turbine towers are one of the biggest targets for lightning strikes. They’re far from any other conductor and they’re not too far from the sky. Typically, the standard main lightning discharge peaks at about 200,000 amps and sustains 30,000 amps throughout its duration.
While a regular lightning discharge only lasts for a few milliseconds, it can cause catastrophic damage. However, most wind turbine workers accept that potential lightning strikes are part of the job, especially because it’s ‘an act of nature’ more than anything else. Thankfully, modern wind turbine towers are equipped with effective electrical grounding systems. This helps to negate the impact of lightning strikes and their harmful effects, which is why they have become a standard in the wind turbine industry.
Another form of protection that wind turbine workers benefit from is early weather forecasting. It often manifests in advanced warnings of lightning strikes that serve as no-go signals. The standard advanced warning of lightning strikes is given in real-time, which also helps protect workers’ salaries by avoiding false alarms, wasted time, and dwindling productivity.
2. You’ll have to deal with aggravated weather conditions
Most of the occupational hazards in the wind turbine industry are related to the weather, especially during more intense times of the year such as winter. Wind turbine workers and technical teams are often on-call for maintenance duties that take place round-the-clock.
An important factor to consider is that severe weather is aggravated in higher areas, which proves to be a greater occupational hazard. The standard practice for managing wind turbine workers is that teams must not be sent out if temperatures dip below -30°C, or if conditions are deemed detrimental with the help of weather measurement and forecasting systems.
3. You’ll be working from a great distance from the ground
In an industry where the lowest work stations are at least 150 ft, most wind turbine workers have to work at a height with the least amount of control. Climbing up a wind turbine alone is difficult enough as it is. It may strain workers’ knees and drain their stamina, but this may be remedied with climb-assists and service lifts.
Working at a greater distance from the ground means that there’s a greater chance that the effects of different mistakes can be amplified. For instance, falling objects can pose risks to those on the ground as well, making it essential to exercise a great amount of care when working on wind turbines.
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