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Number of incidents remains low despite record global offshore wind activity


Close up of turbines in wind farm Photo: Scottish Power 
2021 was the second year running with a decrease in the total recordable injury rate and lost time injury frequency in the global offshore wind sector

Photo: Scottish Power 

2021 was a record year for offshore wind development, construction and operational activities, according to new data published by G+, the Global Offshore Wind Health and Safety Organisation.

Members of the body, based at the Energy Institute, reported 32mn hours were worked last year at member sites across Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific, up almost 30% on the previous year.


The rapid expansion of activity provides the backdrop for the 2021 Incident Data Report which records a total of 106 incidents across the sector, with the number of recordable injuries the second lowest on record. 2021 was the second year running with a decrease in the total recordable injury rate and lost time injury frequency, representing a 16% and 11% decrease respectively.


G+ and its members remain vigilant to upholding the highest safety standards, with first aid injuries an area of concern, as well as the increase in the number of incidents involving emergency response evacuations and dropped objects. As a response, G+ is rolling out a series of self-assessment forms to improve the implementation of its good practice guidelines that mitigate these incidents.


Commenting on the figures, Jakob Nielsen, G+ Chair and Director of Offshore Wind at Vattenfall, says: ‘This is the ninth year we have collected industry safety data, providing a solid bedrock with which to benchmark industry performance. While progress must be welcomed, G+ remains committed to better understanding the issues behind the incidents to improve safety performance further.’


Energy Institute Chief Executive Nick Wayth FEI welcomed the report, adding: ‘Collaboration is the cornerstone of G+, with industry coming together to monitor and mitigate emerging health and safety risks, and we’re proud to host it at the Energy Institute. This report gives a clear indication of the robust focus on health and safety in this growing sector – a vital component of our energy mix on our collective journey to net zero.’


G+ comprises 10 leading operators – Corio Generation, EDF Renewables, Equinor, Ocean Winds, Ørsted, RWE, ScottishPower Renewables, Siemens Gamesa, SSE, Vattenfall – as well as many associate members.


Member companies submit incident data on a quarterly basis, which is then anonymised for analysis by the Energy Institute. Now in its ninth year, the publication of the incident data ensures safety information is provided transparently and openly, to benchmark and aid the overall offshore wind industry’s health and safety performance.


With expanding operations in the Asia-Pacific and North American regions, G+ is continuing to utilise the lessons learned from high potential incidents that occurred during the early stages of offshore wind in Europe to develop good practice guidelines, in multiple languages, to support safe offshore wind operations in these regions.


As part of the drive to ensure lessons learned from these incidents are made freely available, G+ is continuing to make safety incident lessons available through Toolbox, the Energy Institute’s free-to-use incident lessons platform.