The publication of the Offshore Wind and Marine Energy Health and Safety Guidelines is an important milestone for the renewable energy sector, and offshore wind and marine energy projects in particular. They support the strategic vision of RenewableUK:
“to be a leading enabler in the delivery of an expanding UK wind, wave and tidal sector free of fatalities, injuries and work related ill-health.”
The guidelines support our commitment to championing health and safety for the benefit of everyone in the wind, wave & tidal industry, thereby:
- Continuing to make the UK a leader as a safe and responsible jurisdiction in which to do business; and
- Ensuring that health and safety remains a top priority throughout the wind, wave and tidal industry.
SCOPE AND STATUS OF THE GUIDELINES
The guidelines do not define or mandate any new industry standards or requirements. They have been developed by taking account of existing and emerging industry good practice within the framework of UK health and safety legislation. Specifically, the guidelines consider the occupational health and safety of employees and others who may be exposed to risks as set out under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the applicable subordinate regulations. While marine legislation is referenced, the health and safety requirements for seafarers are not considered in detail within the scope of the guidelines.
The guidelines do not aim to influence or direct any specific risk management, operational, technical or other solution. Duty holders throughout the life cycle of an offshore wind or marine energy project continue to be responsible for ensuring compliance with regulatory and contractual obligations, and so must make their own assessment of the relevance and suitability of any guidance provided. However, while no new standards are set out, the guidelines collectively are likely to be regarded as representing the current industry state of knowledge for the issues addressed.
TARGET AUDIENCE OF THE GUIDELINES
The guidelines are primarily written from the perspective of the developer or client in relation to projects designed, constructed, operated and maintained in the United Kingdom. However, they are likely to also provide a useful reference source for:
- Designers and Manufacturers – of wind turbine generators (WTGs) and wave or tidal devices, balance of plant and associated project infrastructure;
- Contractors – including Principal Contractors and other contracting and supply chain parties; and
- Professional advisers – including nominated health and safety competent persons, CDM Co-ordinators, inspection and certification companies and other occupational health and safety advisers.
SCOPE AND CONTENT OF THE GUIDELINES
The guidelines aim to consider occupational health and safety risks in relation to offshore wind and marine (wave and tidal) energy projects1 with the territorial waters and Renewable Energy Zone (REZ)2 of the United Kingdom.
For the purpose of this guidance:
- Offshore wind projects are considered to relate to WTGs as defined by EN 61400-3 (BS EN 61400-3:2009 - Wind turbines. Design requirements for offshore wind turbines) including the associated balance of plant and project infrastructure; and
- Marine energy projects3 are considered to relate to Tidal Energy Converters (TEC)4 and Wave Energy Converters (WEC), 5 including the associated balance of plant and project infrastructure.
Either of these may constitute an Offshore Renewable Energy Installation (OREI), so this term is used throughout the guidelines, unless referring to a specific element of an OREI.
The guidelines acknowledge a collective responsibility for health and safety in the industry, and so support a strategic objective to enhance the overall improvement in the health and safety performance of the sector.
However, the guidelines cannot cover every relevant issue or every possible risk associated with the lifecycle of offshore wind and marine projects. For example, the guidelines do not address the relationship between health and safety law and employment law, which can sometimes be at odds, nor do they address onshore activities that occur as a precursor to offshore projects.