At least two safety incidents each month related to wind energy access roads and hard stands
In order to enhance the safety standards during the transportation and erection of onshore wind turbines, the International Crane Stakeholder Assembly (ICSA) is publishing a “special guidance paper” on standards for access roads and hard stands for the wind energy industry. The ICSA reports at least two safety incidents each month related to the “…inadequate preparation and equipment or poor ground conditions…” at access roads and hard stands.
Weather events, including rain events and freeze-thaw cycles, are a leading cause of poor ground conditions at access roads and hard stands, impacting the safe and secure transportation and erection of onshore wind turbines. Further, proper drainage helps to maintain the lifespan and ensure the integrity of access roads, as both standing water and improperly channeled water weakens road surfaces and jeopardizes safe operations.
The ICSA is a meeting of international associations representing the crane and rigging industry and crane manufacturers, including the Specialized Carriers & Riggers Association (SC&RA), Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), European Federation of Material Handling (FEM), The Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA), and The European Association of Abnormal Road Transport and Mobile Cranes (ESTA), with the mission to:
- Facilitate information sharing and meaningful dialogue between crane industry stakeholders on safety, technical and regulatory issues of concern to the international crane industry.
- Provide an environment for, and encourage the creation of, significant networking opportunities between industry stakeholders and promote consensus positions on behalf of the crane industry on issues of common concern, so that ICSA members can make representation to relevant regulatory and/or standardization bodies.
- Promote the harmonization of international standards.
After the annual meeting of the International Crane Stakeholder Assembly (ICSA) last March, hosted by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the Specialized Carriers & Riggers Association (SC&RA) in Las Vegas, the ICSA formed a working group chaired by the chief executive of the Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA), learning from best practices developed by German Working Group Heavy Transport and Crane Work (BSK).
Accordingly, no international set of standards or group of guidelines exist for access roads and hard stands for the wind energy industry, to help ensure the safe and secure transportation and erection of onshore wind turbines. Practices for constructing and maintaining access roads and hard stands vary by country, by region, by owner and by EPC, many differing in roadbed width, load-bearing capacity, and weather resistance.
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