Global Wind Organisation (GWO), the industry body responsible for safety training standards for more than 90,000 of the world’s wind energy workers, reveals its network is emerging from Covid-19 lock down.
As many as six in 10 GWO certified training providers expect to have re-opened their doors by the end of this week (May 18 – 22), according to a survey of the network.
The companies, who deliver standardized safety and technical training to GWO standards are proceeding with extreme caution and have made careful adaptations to minimize the risk of exposure for their course participants, instructors and staff.
The GWO market survey found that globally, training providers expected to deliver 59% of the number of courses in May 2020 when compared to the same period of last year. This number rises quickly to 89% in June and 91% in July.
“This survey gives a snapshot of what training providers tell us they expect during the next three months,” says Paul Robbins, Chief Specialist HSE at Vestas and Chairman of GWO. “The global number is encouraging for the industry which has urgent need of training for its workforce.”
The post lock down picture is extremely varied across the network.
“Some training providers expect to be very busy for the next two to three months, meeting a backlog of training demand in a workplace where technicians must refresh their certificates every two years,” adds Jakob Lau Holst, CEO of GWO. “Others expect a much-reduced workload as demand is impacted by continuing challenges domestically. For these reasons, Spanish training providers who remain unable to open until at least the final week of May are expecting very limited training this month, while most Polish companies have remained open throughout the pandemic and anticipate a busy period from now onwards.”
In North America, where the number of training providers has grown to 17 locations across 11 states and two provinces in 2020, survey responses indicate re-opening is underway. In the three-month period of May through July, training providers in Canada expect to be fully operational. Training providers in the United States expect to deliver 63% of courses in May, and more than 90% for June and July.
Impact on workforce safety
During the pandemic, up to 1,000 technicians each week saw their Basic Safety Training (BST) certificates run out of validity with limited access for retraining.
“24% of the usual number of courses took place globally in the weeks since most economies were locked down,” adds Holst. “For employers in the wind industry this presents a major safety risk for their workforce as skills like first aid tend to fade in the memory without refresher training.”
In April 2020, GWO deployed new digital versions of its training standards to meet the challenges of lock down and social distancing.
“The market has responded rapidly to implement the new GWO online classroom training standard which we call BSTR-P,” adds Holst. “This interim measure has helped employers to deploy technicians in the field, keep our wind turbines spinning and do so with confidence that their techs’ vital safety skills won’t be found wonting in the event of an accident at work.”
Network Re-opening Forecast:
GWO asked 91 training providers representing 57% of the global market by share of training how many courses they expected to complete in May, June and July 2020, compared with the same period last year.
In 2019, the 10 largest markets (see graphic below) were collectively responsible for approximately 80% of all GWO training.
Globally, GWO training fell as low as 24% of 2019 levels during the lock down. With these re-opening estimates, the average across the top 10 is 57% in May, 90% in June and 91% in July.
The results of this survey are based on sentiment and may not reflect actual activity. Several limitations have been identified including the influence of demand from customers, the potential for delay in re-opening caused by continued effects of the pandemic and the likelihood some training providers may not return to operation. These limitations are outlined in the table below.
Global Wind Organisation | http://www.globalwindsafety.org