The Central Occupational Safety and Health Center of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Ministry of Labor dispatched personnel out to sea yesterday (5th) to inspect the offshore wind farm construction zone of the “Greater Changhua Southeast and Southwest Phase One Offshore Wind Power Project” and completed inspection of the implementation situation of occupational safety and health facilities and management at the construction site of Taiwan’s first offshore sub-station on the offshore wind farm and required the wind farm developer and construction contractor to implement safety management.
The OSHA said that a total of 111 wind turbines and 2 offshore sub-stations will be installed under the project, which are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022. At the same time, installation of underwater infrastructure and superstructure is currently underway. The wind farm is located in the waters west of Fangyuan Township, Changhua County, about 37 kilometers offshore. Labor inspectors set out to sea from Taichung Port, with a single trip lasting 2.5 hours. Labor inspectors must have completed Basic Safety Training (BST) according to Global Wind Organisation (GWO) regulations and passed the Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) offshore medical examination before they are allowed to set out to sea and perform this labor inspection. As the offshore substation is about 50 meters above sea surface, it is necessary to climb up a vertical ladder about 20 meters high from the barge to reach the superstructure of the offshore substation, which is a huge challenge for both workers and labor inspectors.
The OSHA said that the inspection focused on the following: 1. Operators should be wearing personal protective equipment (such as life jackets, hard hats, safety belts, etc.), 2. Fall prevention facilities (such as hoist type fall arrestors for vertical ladders, stairs, guardrails and protective covers for openings, etc.), 3. Collision prevention facilities (such as roll and slide prevention facilities for stacked materials, protective covers or enclosures for the operating parts of offshore sub-stations), 4. Electric induction prevention facilities (such as sub-station power transmission control, electric induction protection equipment for operators, etc.). No major defects were found in the results of the inspection, but there were several areas for improvement. The construction frame was not clearly marked with the load limit and tilt and roll prevention facilities were not in place for stacked steel materials. The OSHA has urged the business department to make immediate improvements on site.
Taiwan has officially rolled out offshore wind power construction. In addition to the offshore wind farm projects of this inspection, three other offshore wind farms are under intensive construction in the waters of Miaoli, Changhua and Yunlin this year (2022). The OSHA calls on offshore wind farm developers to strengthen worker safety and health and implement risk assessment and management in the stages of planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance. The OSHA will successively carry out inspection at various offshore wind farms to ensure that workers have a safe and healthy working environment and to assist in the safe and smooth development of the national green energy policy.