workforce safety
Image credit: Carbon Brief

As the energy sector adjusts to social distancing and on-site staff restrictions, the G+ Global Offshore Wind Health & Safety Organisation, in partnership with ORE Catapult, KTN and the Workboat Association, has recognised five organisations for innovative operational safety initiatives.

With social distancing severely reducing the number of offshore wind turbine technicians permitted to undertake wind farm inspections, maintenance and repairs, a cross-sector crew transfer vessel (CTV) innovation challenge was launched using the KTN innovation exchange (KTN-iX) to find solutions to this pressing industry challenge.

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KTN-iX matches real industry challenges from large companies to organisations, often from other sectors, who have innovative technology and can facilitate faster development of novel solutions to those challenges.

Interviews were undertaken and five companies were selected as finalists. Demonstrations are now underway with:

  • Flameskill, who offer a CTAS particle filtration head top (P3/PSL R) to protect users from solid and liquid particles and micro-organisms, helping to ensure the safety of technicians in a confined working space.
  • Entex, with its Disinfex Booth and portable disinfecting unit, which generates a dry fog of non-toxic disinfectant that kills viruses, pathogens and bacteria. The former eliminates those that might be carried by a person passing through the booth and the latter can be used inside a room or vessel cabin to completely fill the space, disinfect the environment and the surfaces within it.

Other successful respondents include:

  • Canary Sentinel, which has pioneered an early warning service for symptoms related to COVID-19 via a real-time health monitoring app.
  • Sea Sure, which has designed an air filtration and extraction hood to be fitted to seats on transfer vessels, allowing crew members to be seated in close proximity.
  • Life’s Shield, which are running a research and development project seeking to validate a UV light unit that kills viruses and pathogens almost instantly, while being safe for humans.

Commenting on the submissions, G+ General Manager Kate Harvey said: “For offshore wind, the pandemic presents additional challenges in what is already a complex working environment. We’ve been impressed at the breadth and ingenuity shown in response to our call for proposals.

“As offshore wind capacity grows, the sector continues to work tirelessly to uphold the highest safety standards. These varying solutions will allow vital operations to be carried out in a more efficient and safe manner.”

Kerrie Forster, Chief Executive of the Workboat Association, added: “We have been really pleased to see the large number and variety of entries into the challenge, the winners have all got something very different to offer, which if implemented in combination would provide some coordinated a versatile controls to prevent the spread of virus’s whilst travelling on board workboats.”

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