Member Article

Ensuring windfarm safety offshore

Billingham’s Falck Nutec is gearing up for the influx of offshore wind jobs blowing Teesside’s way. The company, which conducts safety training for some of the most hazardous jobs in the world, including offshore oil and gas, predicts renewable energy will account for a massive 25% of its business within the next five years.

Specialist facilities at its Haverton Hill premises, including a ‘dock’ area and a pool to simulate the open sea, give trainees the chance to practice safety in true-to-life situations.

“One of the most hazardous jobs when working on a wind turbine is just getting to work“ says Keith Symington, sales manager with Falck Nutec.

“Technicians have to transfer between the vessels and on to the turbine itself. We give that training using our dock. Once the wind farms are operational, we get staff coming back for refreshers. The experience we’ve gathered in the oil and gas sector fits well.“

Nutec was bought by Danish firm Falck four years ago. “The Danes are several years ahead of us on windpower“ says Mr Symington. “Falck was already doing safety training work for offshore wind turbines over in Scandinavia. We have used that knowledge to build up our expertise in Teesside.“

The company is working with Narec, the region’s world-class National Energy Centre at Blyth, to prepare training schemes for the thousands of employees expected to come into the industry. The centre, which recently won £30m of funding to extend its facilities, operates a training tower and experimental turbines off the coast of Northumberland.

Mr Symington predicts a spike in demand once the Crown Estate, which owns the area in which the UK’s 8,000 wind turbines are expected to be in full operation by 2020, announces round three of the licensing agreements that allow developers on to the sites.

Encouraged by the boost that the industry could bring to the area, he added. “The government is talking about thousands of jobs – and Teesside is expected to be the catchment area.“

OPITO approved Falck Nutec has sites in Teesside and Europe’s oil and gas capital, Aberdeen. Falck specialise in offshore survival training, fire safety and awareness, helideck, sea survival. The company also offer a range of on site training such as banksman slinging, forklift training and dangerous goods.

Further information is available at www.falcknutec.com or by emailing ks@falcknutec.co.uk

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Greig Duncan .

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