Safety and health: the armour of our industry
World Day for Health and Safety at Work is recognised to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and aims to strengthen resilience in the workplace. On this day, and every other day, safety is at the heart of Siemens Gamesa, and the wellbeing of employees is prioritised above all else. It is necessary to reflect upon and learn from past incidences, and it is vitally important that we continue to find ways to further enhance employee safety and prevent further fatalities and accidents within our company and the entire wind industry.
Our training is under the umbrella of Global Wind Organisation (GWO) industry standards. GWO is a non-profit body founded by wind turbine manufacturers and owners. However, the organisation also includes training providers, suppliers of personal protective equipment, independent service providers and more. GWO members strive for an injury free work environment in the wind turbine industry, setting common international standards for safety training and emergency procedures across the wind industry.
“What is incredibly interesting about the Health & Safety training is that it is an area where the wind industry unites. We have a big responsibility as an industry to improve health and safety standards” explains Jacob Frederiksen, Head of Global Training at Siemens Gamesa. These shared safety standards not only unite our industry but demonstrate that the safety of employees is at the heart of our fight for a greener climate and should be prioritised above all else.
“It is a great investment into the future of our company and for the industry as a whole and it is incredibly important to know how to do it right” states Filip Rasmussen, Head of Corporate Health, Safety and Environment. The Global Wind Organisation workforce has now passed 100,000 and by the end of 2022, it is predicted that there will be a trained work force of more than 200,000. “We need to make sure the industry is becoming increasingly safer”
Siemens Gamesa have, so far, personally trained over 30,000 wind technicians globally and, despite unfortunate effects of the pandemic, the company still managed to keep over 9,000 of our internal and external technicians trained in 2020. This is an impressive accomplishment, greatly helped by the addition of online training, and through the efforts of our employees in the Siemens Gamesa training centers across the world.
Training is delivered both through classroom, virtual and onsite training. During such a turbulent and unpredictable year, virtual training has been utilised increasingly, and training has been made faster and more remote. Virtual training allows staff to refresh their safety knowledge and be correctly pre-prepared for in-person training.
However, Filip insists that “not everything can be delivered virtually” and that in-person training is still essential, as it is necessary for some trainings to be hands-on. Thus, the company is working to make training increasingly accessible by both sending trainers to sites for on-site training, and by further utilising local training centres. SGRE offers these options to help cut costs and alleviate the environmental impact. This can be hugely beneficial as it means employees can access training with ease.
GWO basic safety training covers working at heights, manual handling, fire awareness, first aid for offshore activities and sea survival, which covers the risk profile of being a wind technician. On top of these, additional specific trainings are available depending on the profile and role of the individual, for example those working with electricity or lifting operations will need this additional training.
Siemens Gamesa has more than 100 trainings that range from first aid to highly technical courses. There are currently 8 training centres dotted around the globe at: Pamplona, Hull, Brande, Budapest, Orlando, Bahia, Chennai and Tianjin.
“Training focuses on how to exert less stress on your body and general day to day safety which helps us to keep the workforce together and functioning, just as in an office the training helps workers to protect their bodies so they can be working as a team for longer” shared Filip, explaining why health and safety is so important when it comes to teamwork.
Another incredible feat for health and safety at Siemens Gamesa is the LeadSafe program, which is currently underway, and will hopefully be fully implemented by the end of the financial year 2022. The program inclusively targets employees from those working on plants, sites, and vessels to those based in office roles. The program, which was developed in partnership with DuPont Sustainable Solutions, focusses on changing the way we perceive health and safety at work. “The overall goal is to boost our safety culture by changing our behaviour and perception of risk” explained Joana Godinho Dos Santos, Internal Project Manager.
“We will mimic the behaviours we see in our leadership team” Joana continues, explaining why LeadSafe is being implemented following a top-down approach. Currently, our offshore top management team have been trained, and other departments are promptly following suit. A big part of LeadSafe is that the Risk Factor training relies on keeping the knowledge in-house and is being rolled out by internal trainers who will “spread the word” across the organization.
The program is currently targeting an impressive 15 countries worldwide. While this was impacted heavily by the pandemic, the training was adapted to be delivered remotely, allowing our employees to continue to collaborate and learn from each other, creating a safer work environment for themselves and their colleagues.
While the speed and effectiveness of our work is crucial to our end goal, there is nothing more essential than the well-being and safety of employees. It is of utmost importance that our employees feel safe and equipped to deal with every possible risk in the workplace, so that they can continue to work wonders for our planet securely and confidently.