Offshore wind safety record is improving

20 June 2023

Members of G+, the health and safety organisation for the offshore wind sector, based at the Energy Institute (EI), and consisting of most of the biggest offshore wind operators in the world, have reported that a record 44.6 million hours were worked in 2022, an increase of 38% on the previous year.

G+ members invested billions in new offshore wind projects last year. Crucial safety metrics – such as the total recordable injury rate (TRIR) and lost time injury frequency (LTIF) – displayed a downward trajectory in 2022, demonstrating sustained progress since reporting began in 2013.

The TRIR, measuring the number of injuries per million hours worked, fell from 3.28 in 2021 to 2.82 in 2022 (down from 5.52 in 2016). Similarly, the LTIF, measuring the frequency of injuries resulting in lost work time, decreased from 1.55 in 2021 to 1.03 in 2022 (down from 1.98 in 2016).

For the tenth year in a row, there were no fatalities recorded across G+ member sites in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. Of note is that compared with the 2021 data, there was a 69% decrease in the number of emergency response and medical evacuation incidents, from 62 in 2021 to 19 in 2022, which given the increase in hours reported is a significant improvement.

However the reported figures also highlight that more must still be done. A total of 225 high potential incidents were report in 2022, which is a 10% increase on 2021 levels. There was also an increase in the number of restricted work day injuries in 2022, with 36 reported cases, and the number of medical treatment injuries increased by 10 cases - all highlighting the need for constant vigilance and continuous improvement.

Commenting on the report, G+ chairman Jakob Nielsen said: “You can’t improve what you don’t measure, which is why G+ plays such an indispensable role in reporting, monitoring and steering industry to make our sector as safe as it can possibly be. This increasingly vital industry provides hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs around the world and is growing fast. What’s non-negotiable for us as operators is to grow in a way that protects our people in often hazardous environments with the highest safety standards.

“I’m pleased to see genuine progress as a result of the work G+ and its members are undertaking – but we are under no illusion as to the importance of constant vigilance to uphold and improve safety performance.”

Dr Nick Wayth Energy Institute chief executive, commented: “Offshore wind continues to be a global success story, beating generation targets and driving us closer to a fully decarbonised energy system.

“Complacency causes injuries, which is why G+’s reporting role is so vital in embedding a culture of continuous improvement through its work programme.”

Key figures from the 2022 Incident Data report showed 868 reported incidents and injuries, occurring in support vessels, in turbines and onshore: there were zero fatalities, a total of 46 lost work day injuries, 19 incidents resulting requiring emergency medical response, and 44 less serious injuries requiring medical treatment.

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