Statement of Task: Committee on Worker Safety on Offshore Wind Farms
This study will assess the role of, and appropriate responsibilities for, regulating worker health and safety for wind farms on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The study will examine the construction, operations and maintenance, and decommission of wind farms, and will consider the role of wind turbine design in mitigating workplace hazards. Starting with how oil and gas worker health and safety is regulated by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM),1 as well as by other authorities having jurisdiction, the study will focus on the gaps or overlapping areas in the current regulations for worker health and safety for wind farms on the OCS. It will examine the impact on BOEM and BSEE’s worker health and safety program in the absence of U.S. Coast Guard involvement and any potential implications of working with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and various electrical grid operators. The study will also examine the potential role of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in regulating worker health and safety for wind farms on the OCS.
The study will identify workplace risks involved with wind farms, such as working in proximity to high-power electrical devices on offshore substations, extensive use of elevators for wind turbines in a highly corrosive environment, accessing turbine blades for repair via helicopter, crane operations during construction, and use of CO2 fire suppression systems in potentially manned areas. The study will identify gaps in current regulations and recommend additional areas of workplace health and safety regulation deemed necessary.