What are the consequences for a lack of legal compliance?

For companies in the renewables sector, a lack of health and safety compliance can be particularly problematic. Damage to reputation can be long term, affecting not just the ability to attract business, but also recruitment prospects and how the company is viewed as an employer.

Financial penalties as a result of prosecution can be severe – six-figure sums are not an uncommon occurrence and the loss of earnings that can be the result of gaining a record for poor health and safety can be difficult for renewables businesses to absorb.

Where accidents have occurred that could have been prevented by having a better health and safety management system and controls in place, there may be legal claims by those affected.

Specific challenges for the renewables industry

There were 11 million people working in the renewables industry in 2018, in a variety of different roles, according to analysis by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Some of the roles within the renewables sector can be very physically demanding (such as Wind Turbine Engineers, who sometimes have to climb the 70-80m towers of the Wind turbines), whereas others may involve being on a construction site and handling hazardous materials. Therefore, right from the start, the renewables industry has a unique set of challenges when it comes to health and safety.

A company can combat these challenges by implementing a Safety Management system, providing suitable and sufficient training, equipment and provisions, perform annual audits and inspections as well as actively engage with their workforce.

By Adam Richardson – Health & Safety Manager