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COVID-19

Posted 31st March, 2020
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Context

There is a growing concern within the Wind sector about the greater restrictions on movement, imposed by the relevant authorities as part of the response to the Covid-19 virus.

This concern particularly applies to Wind Turbine Technicians, Safety Inspectors, Blade Technicians, and other essential specialist providers within the sector.

If these specialist providers are unable to perform their duties, a detrimental risk to the UK and Ireland’s electricity supply could develop. The UK wind sector currently provides around 20% of the British Isles power generation, a downturn in renewable supply would have adverse effects on the UK government’s and EU renewable targets, resulting in higher carbon emissions; as this demand would be offset by fossil fuels.

Under the terms of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, Windtex believes all its employee and sub-contractors are now classed as ESSENTIAL workers.

Due to the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, Windtex Engineering Limited will take every precaution necessary, and in accordance with government guidelines, to mitigate the possibility of our highly valued employees, customers, and contractors from coming into contact with the virus.

This extraordinary state of affairs is an ever evolving crisis and liable to change on a day to day basis.

Windtex are continually observing this fluid situation and shall adapt our working policy to keep our employees and stakeholders abreast of the situation.

Guidance

This guidance is based on publicly available information and industry good practice as at 25th March 2020. Further government or health advice may supersede this guidance note. In the event of any conflicts, please default to national health guidance issued by the HSE or the British/Irish Government. Companies should be aware of any limitations on availability of emergency response personnel that may be notified in future by the HSE or Ambulance Service.

Where teams are working across two different jurisdictions, we recommend using the more conservative guidance available.

General Requirements for Teams

  • • Technicians should check their personal health before leaving home. If technicians are showing symptoms of COVID-19 they should notify Windtex management, should not travel to work and begin self-isolation.

    • In the event of becoming symptomatic or having a suspected case, technicians should share this information with Windtex, site owners and other potentially affected personnel, and be fully transparent with any contact tracing measures required.

    • All personnel coming to site should provide a declaration where required stating their current health status re: COVID-19 (i.e. any symptoms) and any relevant details from previous fourteen days.

  • • Where possible there should be limited physical interactions between different service colleagues.

    • It is advised to strictly limit the number of colleagues working with each other. There will be no gatherings of multiple colleagues and technicians will work with partners on a long term basis where practicable.

    • It is recommended that when multiple teams are on site that working hours be staggered and nominated times for tooling and specified workplaces be allocated.

Vehicles

• Where possible personnel should travel to site independently of one another.

• The same personnel should work in the same teams every day and the same service vehicles used by the same teams as far as reasonably practicable.

• Where this cannot be achieved consider any other appropriate measures and follow a strict hygiene regime.

• Regularly disinfect surfaces in vans (door handles, steering wheels, dash boards)

• Gloves should be worn whilst filling vehicles with fuel. Disinfect fuel pump filler handles where possible.

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Turbines and Sub-Station

• Hand sanitiser should be made available at entry points.

• The first person to arrive at the turbine / sub-station should disinfect all door handles, light switches, handrails on stairs and another person should repeat this process when exiting.

• While working in the turbine try to keep ideally at least 2 meters (6 feet) in so far as practicable.

• Where this cannot be achieved consider any other appropriate measures and follow a strict hygiene regime.

• It is advisable to wear gloves at all times while working and regularly dispose of / clean them where appropriate

• Personnel must wash hands on exiting place of work following Government guidance or use hand sanitiser where water is unavailable.


Service Point

• Where possible, service teams should avoid visiting the Service Centre.

• If critical for the collection of tools / materials, the time spent in the Service Centre should be minimised and / or staggered.

• Personnel should consider scheduling visiting times or collections times at Service Centre.

• While at a Service Centre, personnel should observe physical distancing.

• Where possible, carry out any preparation works outside rather than inside the Service Centre to avoid spending too much time in an enclosed and shared environment.

Service Lift

• Technicians should avoid travelling in the service lift together and must ensure they maintain sufficient physical distancing at all times

• After use of the lift, all contact points within the service lift should be sprayed and / or wiped down with disinfectant, prior to use by a different technician

Hub & Nacelle Working

• Technicians should avoid working in the hub / nacelle together where possible.

• Where this cannot be achieved consider any other appropriate measures and follow a strict hygiene regime.

Lunch & breaks

  • • During lunch breaks personnel should maintain physical distancing rules.

    • Break periods should be staggered.

    • Restaurants and other public places should be avoided.

    • Canteen surfaces should be clear of all items so surfaces can be easily cleaned.


  • • Personnel should bring their own lunch / drinks to site.

    • Personnel should clean up and disinfect area after use.

    • Wash any utensils in dishwasher or warm soapy water.

    • Personnel should wash hands using Government guidance after lunch and breaks. If water is not available, hand sanitiser should be used.

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Training

• Physical training courses should be excluded unless adequate physical distancing can be implemented

• Personnel should assess whether training can be completed online

• For refreshers extension of time for validity should be requested or carried out via online training

• GWO has agreed to allow as a temporary measure until 1 June 2020 that:

1. Course participants unable to refresh previous training within the 24 months validity period, are granted an option to take the planned refresher training up until 60 days after expiry.

2. Training Providers offering the refresher training to course participants under this exemption must contact GWO to receive further instructions.

• Skills deterioration can mean trained skills are forgotten as they are not used during normal work (such as First Aid) or can mean gradual deviation from the correct and safe skills practices acquired during training, therefore companies should assess personnel competencies in relation to training certificate extensions.

All Paperwork & Computer Related Tasks

Should be completed at home to avoid spending time in the Service Point.
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Rescue of a Technician

• The rescue of a technician from a turbine is considered an emergency situation.

• Physical distancing guidelines cannot be respected during such activities in order to ensure life is preserved.

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General Advice

• Face to Face meeting with customers should be cancelled and replaced with online meetings / conference calls

• Avoid exchanging personal items between colleagues such as mobile phone, laptop, pens etc.

• Tools which are shared by teams should be handled with clean gloves to avoid risk of spreading contamination and should be disinfected after use.

• All Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is for the sole use of the individual. PPE shall never be shared.

• Governments guidance on Physical Distancing, Disinfecting, Washing Hands, Symptoms, Notifying should be adhered to at all times

Mental Health

  • • Stay informed through official sources and set limits for news and social media.

    • Keep up healthy routines such as exercise and diet.

    • Stay connected to others.

    • Try to anticipate distress and support each other.

  • • Don’t make assumptions which may stigmatise an individual’s health.

    • Recognition of other colleagues’ physical health and age brackets may categorise them in vulnerable groups impacting roles and responsibilities.