At RENEW Energy, safety is our number one priority in all aspects of the job. This is true for RENEW, as well as our sister companies (TP&L, GSS, and Airway Services) and, because of that, we have a strong focus on ergonomics. Ergonomics, according to an OSHA definition, is “designing a job to fit the worker so the work is safer and more efficient.”
Making sure our technicians are safe and efficient is our biggest goal, which is why we spend so much time focusing on various safety aspects of the job, including material handling, body positioning, and ergonomics.
RENEW Energy recently adopted a new standard for safety training, called the Global Wind Organization Basic Safety Training (GWO BST). There are many aspects of this safety training, and it focuses on several different areas, such as first aid and CPR, fire awareness, performing safe work at various heights, and manual handling.
“This training gives us the ability to have some dedicated time to talk to technicians about how to position your body [on a job],” said Brett Citrowske, Director of Training. “Because when you’re climbing up 300 feet in the air, when you’re carrying around or moving around very heavy objects, when you’re working with cranes that are lifting components that are ten to twenty to thirty thousand pounds apiece, you have to 1) know how to position yourself correctly and 2) know when to get out of the way.”
Citrowske said that when technicians are working on a tower, and something goes wrong, the natural instinct is to try and fix it themselves; whether that’s trying to stop a gearbox from swinging, grabbing at a chain that is falling over the edge of a tower, or something else. That natural instinct is to try and stop those things, but 200-pound technicians are no match for 30,000-pound gearboxes.
“The other thing that we’ve been seeing is that, especially with new employees, they want to please so much that they will do things to sacrifice themselves in order to try to complete a mission or a job,” Citrowske stated.
The purpose of the GWO BST is to instill proper safety procedures in technicians, ensuring they know what they can or cannot, and should or should not do while on the job.
“We’ve been teaching this manual handling on how to position yourself when you’re climbing, when you’re working, when you’re down tower, even when you’re off the job…to position yourself in such a way that you don’t cause injuries.”
There are many working parts that go into making RENEW Energy the industry leader in wind energy solutions. But the most important part of our company is our employees, which is why trainings like the GWO BST is so pivotal.
“The number one asset that we have is our people,” Citrowske said. “You can replace vehicles, you can replace gearboxes, you can replace a lot of things. But our people are the most important asset. They are irreplaceable.”