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Focus on safety paramount as UK onshore wind activity reaches record levels


After a record 7.2 million hours worked in 2022, the UK onshore wind sector saw a decrease in total reported incidents, according to new data published today by SafetyOn, the health and safety organisation for the onshore wind sector.

SafetyOn's 2022 Incident Data Report recorded 523 incidents, a decrease in reported incidents in comparison to previous years, with a total of 593 (2021) and 532 (2020) incidents reported respectively. However, the number categorised as high potential incidents rose by 6.4% to 113.

Tragically, a fatal incident occurred on a windfarm construction site. SafetyOn members continue to keep the family, colleagues and friends of the deceased individual in their thoughts and at the forefront of the work they are doing.

Don Mackay, SafetyOn Chair and Chief Technical Officer at EDF Renewables, said:

“The tragic loss of a life in our industry focuses our shared determination to minimise hazards, improve practices and make our workplaces safe.

“This is the third year of industry data being published, allowing us to properly benchmark and monitor key safety metrics, and drive tangible change in our approach to safety.

“With onshore wind activity in the UK at record levels, our workforce is growing and so too is the membership of SafetyOn and its programme.

“SafetyOn’s aim is to ensure health and safety is at the core of every project, and that all employees in the UK’s onshore wind industry plan safely, work safely and go home safely”.

Energy Institute Chief Executive Nick Wayth FEI welcomed the report, saying:

As we move faster towards the UK’s goal of net zero, this data will give us insight into the areas we need to improve on to make the workplace a safe place to be, targeting zero fatalities and accidents.

“Significant progress has been made in the sector, but industry needs to remain vigilant. SafetyOn and its members are leading the charge to ensure emerging risks are mitigated through cooperation and shared learning.”

Based at the Energy Institute, SafetyOn brings together 82 member organisations and other industry stakeholders to mitigate key emerging risks through cooperation and shared learning.

Key figures from the 2022 Incident Data report are:

523 reported incidents, distributed in the following areas:

The incidents include:

The top three work processes where incidents occurred are:

14 of the incidents classified as high potential were categorised under lifting operations. SafetyOn is aware of the risk in this area and is developing industry good practice guidance on coordinating crane lifting activities at sites.

In 2023 SafetyOn instigated a Safe by Design (SbD) project, which will examine the design of chain hoists and ancillary equipment, lift plans, permits and controls, and training and competency across industry.

Established in 2019, SafetyOn works to tackle health and safety issues in the industry through four main work programmes: incident data reporting, good practice guidelines, safe by design and learning from shared incidents.

Notes for editors