Dropped Objects in offshore wind

Dropped Object incidents on the rise in Offshore Wind

With dropped objects incidents increasing by 41%, what steps should the wind sector be taking to tackle the problem?

Dropped objects incidents in the offshore wind sector increased dramatically over the last 12 months. Data from G+, the global health and safety organisation for the offshore wind industry, showed that dropped objects incidents increased by 41% in 2021.

There was a total of 113 incidents involving dropped objects in the industry last year, up from 80 incidents the previous year, with the 2021 total being the second highest on record.

Highly dangerous incidents soaring

Worryingly, the number of high potential (HiPo) incidents (a near miss or other incident that has a strong potential to cause a fatality, life altering injury, major equipment or asset damage, severe environmental harm, or significant operational loss) increased by 88% in 2021.

A total of 42% of the incidents recorded in 2021 were HiPo incidents.

Regarding locations of dropped object incidents, turbines were the main incident area category, accounting for half of all incidents, followed by vessels. More specifically, incidents can occur at the foundations, nacelle, or blades, in the tower, or on installation and service vessels. They can also occur during normal operations, for example if a hidden part of the machinery suffers severe corrosion over time and consequently falls from the installation.

What causes dropped objects incidents in offshore wind?

Dropped objects incidents at offshore wind sites can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Unsuitable operational processes
  • Human error
  • Environmental factors

Incidents can happen at any time, but occur most often during the installation, maintenance or decommissioning of wind sites.

Major concern about growing risks

Increasing awareness and encouraging proactivity on the issue of dropped objects in the offshore wind industry are key. The more the issue is discussed, the more likely that relevant parties will take note and act.

In addition to ensuring high-quality engineering and correct, regular maintenance of equipment, offshore wind businesses also need to be proactive in equipping their installation and maintenance teams, as well as the installations themselves, to sufficiently guard against the risk.

More needs to be done to tackle the problem

As the industry expands, and with data showing that dropped objects incidents in the sector are increasing, businesses need to do more to tackle dropped objects risk and adopt additional preventative measures to reduce or eliminate the associated risks.

Data gathering and dissemination in relation to dropped objects risk is improving and will continue to do so. Companies engaged in offshore wind have a chance to act as industry safety pioneers by:

  • Rising to the challenge of preventing dropped objects incidents
  • Accelerating the adoption of best practice gleaned from other industries such as offshore oil and gas
  • Forging ahead with improving safety performance by installing innovative drops prevention technology such as that supplied by Dropsafe 

Benefits of dropped objects prevention for your company

The benefits of implementing innovative methods of dropped objects prevention are numerous. Companies that do so will prevent potential loss of life or serious injury to technicians and contractors and avoid costly damage to their corporate reputation and finances.

By taking a best practice approach, companies also could set themselves apart and gain a commercial advantage in an industry with a growing focus on improving standards. If you’d like to discuss best practice in drops prevention with Dropsafe, talk to us at the Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference in Amsterdam on the 29-30 November. We will be at Booth B100. Alternatively, feel free to Contact Us here.