Regulation for training
In wind energy, the operating environment, specifications and guidelines change quickly and innovation cycles are short. The demand for safety training is increasing with the expansion of offshore wind energy. So say Germanischer Lloyd and that is one of the reasons why they have added training standards to their GL Renewables Certification (GL RC).
Recently, at Husum WindEnergy 2012 Germanischer Lloyd presented a certifícate to Deutsche WindGuard Offshore GmbH following GL’s audit of the Customized Offshore Awareness and Safety Training (COAST) at the training facility in Bremerhaven. This is an important step for the Offshore Wind industry. This certification provides a framework, which if universally accepted, will avoid the mess that the oil and gas industry find them self in today with national training standards which are not always recognised outside of the issuing country.
Ideally the standard should be set at a level of the lowest common denominator of every applicable country’s standard whilst, at the same time, maintaining the highest level of training. It should be set to make it a useful workable and practical qualification. The GL RC standard sets out the fundamental prerequisites for efficient training, such as proper organisation of the training course, careful documentation and high-quality teaching equipment and materials. In addition, the certificate demonstrates that the course fulfils the requirements of the Global Wind Organisation (GWO). Reinhold Heller, GL RC’s Expert for Training Certification. “Certification, according to GL RC standards confirms that participants can expect to receive training of high quality, expertly performed.”
The audit guidelines follow the frame of the GLRC with audited evidence of track record, course structure, level of qualifications of tutors and the level and quality of equipment and materials. Certification is valid for 3 years, during which there should be regular documented proof of feedback requests and self improvement.
The standard will benefit the companies in the industry by making it possible for them to recognise the qualification held by a prospective employee or by a subcontractor’s employee. It will benefit workers entering the industry allowing them obtain sufficient training required to help make their future work environment a safe environment.
The training course includes first aid, manual handling, fire awareness, working at height, and sea survival modules, although at this moment in time the Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) has not been included. The HUET has been a prerequisite for offshore oil and gas workers for many years. Training establishments likely to offer safety training for the offshore wind industry will probably be the same in many cases as those who have provided oil and gas safety offshore training, so should already have access to the facilities needed for this training. It remains to be seen whether HUET will be universally required in the future.
Whether the standard is called a GL Standard or a GWO Standard is not important, although GL may well initially disagree. What is important is that it works and that it is universally accepted. This will in turn avoid extra expenses incurred in training that has to be duplicated to another national standard. That GL have taken this step is to be applauded, they must now work hard to get it approved at national levels and allow other certification societies and companies working in the quality control industry to copy and audit the standard to this level. Carpe diem!