Workplace-Worksafe has supplied an innovative, cost-effective safety solution for a global provider of wind power solutions, ensuring the safety of its workers and products.
We were approached to provide an innovative solution to a problem that posed a serious dropped hazard risk when more than one technician was working in turbine towers on different level platforms.
The challenge surrounded the gap that the Yaw gear cabling had between the platforms. There is a gap between the cable array and the platform, which is large enough for any tooling/object to pass through if dropped accidentally.
The brief was to design and develop a prototype, which needed to be made within 7 days in order to trial a solution that would be light enough and small enough to fit into the standard backpack that technicians wear when carrying out the standard maintenance tasks on the towers.
One key requirement was that the solution would need to allow access to the emergency stop button located on the cable array metalwork, and for it to be quick and easy to use. However, there was one interesting issue – we would normally go out on site to see the problem for ourselves, and to take measurements for the potential solution. In this case, due to access restrictions, we were sent a drawing to work from. See Fig. 1 below.
Discussion took place as to what the ‘wish list’ would be for the new solution:
- Ability to carry from turbine to turbine
- Easy to carry in standard backpack
- Ability attach and remove easily from the fixed yaw cable array
- Need to create a secure seal between the cable array and platform without leaving a gap for anything to fall through
- Impact proof from falling tools
- Rapid solution needed without site access / visit
- Sample manufactured and trialled in 2 weeks
Workplace Worksafe worked in partnership with the team at an offshore wind farm site to develop a prototype to remove the gap on the platforms between the upper and lower deck on a wind turbine tower, see concept drawing in Fig. 2 below.
The specific purpose of the protective sleeve was to enable a safe working environment when technicians were working on both platforms in the towers. There was a potential risk of dropped objects falling between the space, this was as an additional safety feature along with others which were in place. See CABLEsafe Yaw protective sleeve solution below in Fig. 3.
In essence the CABLEsafe product is a wrap-around sleeve which can be attached to, and tied around the cable array on the upper platform. This lightweight sleeve is made from a durable fabric which can withstand any accidental impact and tears from dropped objects such as drills or tooling, which are used as standard in the towers during typical daily operational and maintenance activities.
The sleeve can be fitted around the lip of the base of the cable array and securely tightened to hold it in place. By allowing access to the emergency stop button on the top of the cable array the sleeve did not pose a problem if the button was needed during maintenance procedures.
The benefits of introducing the CABLEsafe protective sleeve include:
- Comes complete in a lightweight bag
- Quick release / tighten straps to attach to the base
- Lightweight foam fits the lip of the plate
- Easy access point to the emergency stop button
- Heavy duty fabric to stop dropped tools cutting and falling through to the lower platform
- Easy to use
- Lightweight & compact, can be stored in technicians backpack or on towers
We developed the CABLEsafe prototype within two weeks, this was signed off by the client and in production immediately for use on sites all around the UK. This simple but innovative wind farm safety solution has been designed and manufactured in the UK.
WHAT THE CLIENT SAID
The client was exceptionally happy that we had overcome a difficult challenge, having not been able to visit the actual site to view the area and review the problem. However, by working closely with the client and their team to get the relevant images and information required, we were able to come up with an innovative, cost effective solution which has now been used on various sites across the UK for over three years.